Friday, February 3, 2023

Play

Ohio governor calls for investments in education, child well-being; UT tribes urge lawmakers to pass a bill ensuring protections for Native kids; body positivity movement helps improve body image and alleviate shame.

Play

Rep. Ilhan Omar was ousted from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Inspector General testified on PPP loan fraud, and House Democrats discussed the Ensuring Women's Right to Reproductive Freedom Act.

Play

Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Nation's Largest Solar Bee Farm in Ore. Creating Buzz

Play

Thursday, July 5, 2018   

MEDFORD, Ore. - Bees are enjoying their days in the sun on a clean-energy farm in southern Oregon.

The Eagle Point solar farm outside Medford is the largest "solar apiary" in the country, incorporating designs that benefit pollinators. It's home to 48 bee colonies interspersed among solar panels, which are generating enough energy to power more than 2,100 homes annually.

Rob Davis, who directs the Center for Pollinators and Energy for the nonprofit Fresh Energy, connected North Carolina-based Pine Gate Renewables with a beekeeper in southern Oregon. Davis said this isn't just a potted plant in the corner of a 40-acre field.

"It does obviously recognize that these are managed landscapes and that the site is first and foremost an energy-generation facility," he said. "But within that context, there are significant ways to manage the vegetation so that it's incrementally and meaningfully beneficial to honeybees and all the native pollinators and wildlife."

Davis said this idea has been growing in Europe in recent years and now pollinator-friendly solar projects are under way in a dozen states. While upfront costs could be a barrier, he said, adding pollinators to solar farms has many upsides, including increased soil health from native plants and lowered maintenance costs. The projects are reducing the number of times a farm needs to be mowed, which also decreases the risk of a mower colliding with a panel or kicking up a rock and damaging it.

John Jacob, owner of Old Sol Apiaries, said bees and other pollinators face immense pressures right now, in some cases dying off at catastrophic rates. Part of the problem, he said, is the large number of monoculture farms that give bees only one source of food to choose from. Eagle Point offers his bees the opportunity for a diverse diet. Jacob said another issue on farms is pesticides.

"A lot of the crops we get paid to go to are sprayed, and while it's a good income for commercial beekeepers, the downside is that it places a significant amount of stress on honeybee colonies," he said. "So these are places where we can take our bees to help their overall health and to recover from their pollination duties."

Jacob said healthy hives also help surrounding farms. Bees' growing scarcity is driving up pollination costs for farmers. The honeybees at Eagle Point are producing a lot of honey too, averaging 100 to 200 pounds of per colony. The rest of Josephine County colonies average about 30 to 40 pounds.

More information is online about Fresh Energy, Pine Gate Renewables and Old Sol Apiaries.


get more stories like this via email

A researcher examines Kernza grains. (The Land Institute)

Environment

By Jake Christie for Great Lakes Echo. Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection, reporting for Great Lakes Echo/Solutions …


Social Issues

By Gabes Torres for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Kathryn Carley for Maine News Service, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Social Issues

Tribal leaders from the eight federally recognized tribes in Utah gathered at a news conference at the state Capitol this week and called on state law…


In 2022, Ohio had 1,580,547 students enrolled in a total of 3,136 public schools across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Education. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Ohio's teachers are applauding the governor's recently announced plan to overhaul the state's reading curriculum for elementary schoolers and boost re…

Environment

As the economy has changed with the pandemic in the past few years, Indiana's small communities have seen an exodus of jobs and people. However…

The Biochar Research Network Act would have set up as many as 20 biochar research facilities across the country. (K.salo.85/Wikimedia Commons)

Environment

By Lisa Held for Civil Eats. Broadcast version by Eric Tegethoff for Big Sky Connection, reporting for Civil Eats/Solutions Journalism/Public News …

Social Issues

Students who are also parents face more challenges getting through college, but support for these students is getting an upgrade at Bowie State …

Social Issues

Arizona State University, YouTube and the video channel Crash Course have announced a partnership to offer a series of online courses for college …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021