by Abby Zaleski, Communications Student
In 2010, Anne Cabell had been looking for an interesting way that she could give back to the community. After hearing about the garden and its mission, she knew that working with our Carolina Campus Community Garden (CCCG) would be a “win-win” situation for everyone involved. A friend introduced Cabell to Claire Lorch, the CCCG’s manager, and together they discussed a plan to include bees at the garden. Cabell, who was also just starting the MPH health behavior program at the UNC School of Public Health, moved her hives to the CCCG and officially began volunteering as the CCCG’s beekeeper.
As the beekeeper, not only does Cabell tend to the bees year round, she also leads visitors and guests through a number of workshops and hive tours. Visitors are given the opportunity to learn about honeybees and the critical part they play in our food system. The North Carolina Botanical Garden participates in Pollinator Week every June. As a part of this week of awareness, Cabell holds a special honeybee hive tour, and has even begun to include a similar event just before the end of the spring semester so students have the opportunity to attend. Throughout the warmer months, Cabell also leads additional events as Lorch receives requests from summer camp groups, garden clubs, or school groups.
When asked about her favorite aspects of working at the Garden, Cabell explained that the “people and the beauty of the garden” are what makes it all worthwhile. She enjoys the chance to do what she loves while also making an impact in the community.
Giving hive tours at the garden has allowed Cabell to meet people from all walks of life and share her passion with them. She explained that no matter their age, the attendees always seem to be fascinated with the bees, and witnessing the excitement on their faces has led to some of Cabell’s fondest memories. Seeing the “wonderment on their faces as they see a frame pulled from a hive full of 60,000 bees, or hearing their exclamations when they learn honey is really ‘bee vomit X 2,’ or encouraging them as they cautiously poke their fingers into the comb to sample some of the sweet honey” is the reward for all her hard work. Even after doing many of these events year after year, Cabell explains that she never tires of them and she looks forward to ones in the future.
Not only does volunteering through the CCCG give Cabell the ability to work within her own passion, it also gives her the opportunity to contribute in a small way to a bigger cause. The CCCG “offers environmentally sound and sustainable healthy foods to the University’s lowest wage-earners, builds community, and provides a living classroom for UNC students and the broader community,” she explained. Cabell really loves getting the chance to bring together her passion with such an important cause, and says the entire experience has been wonderful.