Five Golden Bees

A simple, unique, holiday gift that gives in more ways than one. 

              Five Golden Bees  - 11"x17" Archival Print Signed by Matthew Willey

            Five Golden Bees - 11"x17" Archival Print Signed by Matthew Willey

 

Click the arrow above to listen to this beautiful arrangement of a new holiday classic A Pollinator in a Pear Tree by the incomparable Mira SpiritVoice.  

Meet Our Five Golden Bees!

From left: Phyllis Stiles, Founder & Director of Bee City USA® / Debra Roberts, Founder of Holy Bee Press /  Leonora Stefanile, representing Lady Spirit Moon, Founder, BEe Healing Guild / Matthew Willey, Artist and Founder, The Good of the Hive / Rebecca Robertson, Founding member of Asheville Bee-Centric Alliance

A note from The Good of the Hive Founder - Matthew Willey

This holiday season, I thought we would try to steal a little of Santa's thunder for the bees and pollinators... The idea to rewrite the holiday classic “The 12 Days of Christmas” as “A Pollinator in a Pear Tree” sparked an idea to create a holiday campaign surrounding a purchasable art print to support five organizations that are doing amazing work in the world of bee and pollinator awareness and conservation. Thus, this very unique project was born. Little did I know that the incomparable Mira SpiritVoice would bee interested in turning some quirky pollinator lyrics into a new holiday classic! If you've gotten this far and haven't listened to the song yet, scroll up and give it a listen!

Below are the portraits of the people and organizations of our Five Golden Bees campaign 2017! There are an enormous amount of people coming together for the bees around the world. But my four 'golden bee-mates' (The Good of the Hive is the 5th Golden Bee) are people that played a huge part in guiding me as I began this journey three years ago to paint 50,000 honeybees in murals around the world. I knew very little about bees, conservation, or how to connect with others around this work when I began. All I knew was how to paint. These people made a huge difference for me, and they work daily to make a difference for the bees and pollinators with their own lives and through their organizations.

Bees, butterflies, bats, birds, beetles and other pollinators work every day to balance a constantly changing environment. The ‘Five Golden Bees’ we are celebrating this holiday season are all deeply connected to the cause of bee and pollinator health and are working their fuzz off to try and keep pollinators flying.

All 'Five Golden Bees' are more likely to be seen in garden crocks or sneakers with dirt (or paint) under their fingernails than dressed to the nines! That is part of what made this so much fun! We started with old clothes and a few donated items and decked them out with holiday ribbon and glitter. We hand-made the wings and crafted the gold antennae. Our Five Golden Bees were wrapped like holiday gifts to the pollinators! Joshua Niven offered his amazing photography skills to the mix while I created a hive sculpture and painted the backdrop at Wild Mountain Bees in Weaverville, NC for the photo shoot. Voila! Five Golden Bees!

The bees and pollinators are a global treasure and so are the people doing the work to save them. So this holiday season, we invite you to help us carry this message and generate some real buzz! Order a print for yourself or gift one to a friend for the holidays. A little piece of art can go a long way in getting people to think differently. And please share the facebook posts throughout the season! You will be helping some real advocates continue to carry this crucial message out into the world in 2018. 

 
  Phyllis Stiles, Founder & Director of Bee City USA®    Bee City USA ® is a nonprofit national organization that galvanizes communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free to nearly free of pesticides. As of November 2017, 62 cities across the nation (including Washington, DC, Seattle,  San Francisco and Atlanta) have accepted Bee City USA’s commitments to make their communities safer for pollinators by enhancing pollinator habitat on public and private lands, and 31 colleges and universities have become Bee Campus USA affiliates. They even helped to launch Bee City Canada. Learn more at  beecityusa.org  and Facebook.  "The honeybees had me at hello when I first met them in 2009, an encounter that would put my life on a whole new path!  A new beekeeper himself, my husband begged me to go to bee school so we could care for our two hives together. Despite my outsized reactions to stings, I gave in to his impassioned appeals. At weekend bee school, I learned about how the worker bees put the survival of their colony above their own needs; how their bodies changed during their brief lifetimes to make royal jelly, then wax, then toxins for guarding their hive; how their antennae could smell flowers from long distances to find nectar and pollen and then lead them back home to their colony’s unique queen scent...These tiny 30-million-year-old creatures are able to navigate as much as five miles from their homes and then return to describe their journey to their sisters through dance. With my eyes opened to the miniature world all around us, suddenly flowers, or the lack of them, became a daily obsession—what were the bees going to eat? Equally disconcerting, were they collecting pollen and nectar that was poisoned with pesticides?     Before long, the honeybees became my gateway pollinators. They introduced me to their fellow pollinators—the other 20,000 species of bees—and butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, beetles and even wasps and flower flies! These hundreds of thousands of species spend their lives among the flowers, drinking the sweet nectar that plants invented to just to attract them. Without their help, 90% of the world’s wild plant species could not reproduce and 75% of our crops would either stop making seeds and/or fruits, or the quality or quantity of that fruit would be diminished.     Even though pollinators are holding the worldwide web of life on their tiny shoulders, sadly, many species are threatened with extinction. At age 55, I decided I had to do something to open my countrymen’s eyes. With the help of my fellow beekeepers in Asheville, we conceived the Bee City USA program in 2011 and convinced Asheville to become the inaugural city in 2012. In a leap of faith, I resigned from a paid position in fall 2015, to direct Bee City USA full-time, pro bono with the help of lots of volunteers. While it may have been unwise to give up paid employment with benefits as I was nearing retirement, I will be forever grateful to my husband for postponing retirement to make my passion possible. As of September 2017, 55 cities across the nation (including Washington, DC, Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta) have accepted Bee City USA’s commitments to make their communities safer for pollinators by enhancing pollinator habitat on public and private lands, and 31 colleges and universities have become Bee Campus USA affiliates. We even helped to launch Bee City Canada." Learn more at  beecityusa.org  and Facebook.

Phyllis Stiles, Founder & Director of Bee City USA®

Bee City USA® is a nonprofit national organization that galvanizes communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free to nearly free of pesticides. As of November 2017, 62 cities across the nation (including Washington, DC, Seattle,  San Francisco and Atlanta) have accepted Bee City USA’s commitments to make their communities safer for pollinators by enhancing pollinator habitat on public and private lands, and 31 colleges and universities have become Bee Campus USA affiliates. They even helped to launch Bee City Canada. Learn more at beecityusa.org and Facebook.

"The honeybees had me at hello when I first met them in 2009, an encounter that would put my life on a whole new path!  A new beekeeper himself, my husband begged me to go to bee school so we could care for our two hives together. Despite my outsized reactions to stings, I gave in to his impassioned appeals. At weekend bee school, I learned about how the worker bees put the survival of their colony above their own needs; how their bodies changed during their brief lifetimes to make royal jelly, then wax, then toxins for guarding their hive; how their antennae could smell flowers from long distances to find nectar and pollen and then lead them back home to their colony’s unique queen scent...These tiny 30-million-year-old creatures are able to navigate as much as five miles from their homes and then return to describe their journey to their sisters through dance. With my eyes opened to the miniature world all around us, suddenly flowers, or the lack of them, became a daily obsession—what were the bees going to eat? Equally disconcerting, were they collecting pollen and nectar that was poisoned with pesticides?

 

Before long, the honeybees became my gateway pollinators. They introduced me to their fellow pollinators—the other 20,000 species of bees—and butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, beetles and even wasps and flower flies! These hundreds of thousands of species spend their lives among the flowers, drinking the sweet nectar that plants invented to just to attract them. Without their help, 90% of the world’s wild plant species could not reproduce and 75% of our crops would either stop making seeds and/or fruits, or the quality or quantity of that fruit would be diminished.

 

Even though pollinators are holding the worldwide web of life on their tiny shoulders, sadly, many species are threatened with extinction. At age 55, I decided I had to do something to open my countrymen’s eyes. With the help of my fellow beekeepers in Asheville, we conceived the Bee City USA program in 2011 and convinced Asheville to become the inaugural city in 2012. In a leap of faith, I resigned from a paid position in fall 2015, to direct Bee City USA full-time, pro bono with the help of lots of volunteers. While it may have been unwise to give up paid employment with benefits as I was nearing retirement, I will be forever grateful to my husband for postponing retirement to make my passion possible. As of September 2017, 55 cities across the nation (including Washington, DC, Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta) have accepted Bee City USA’s commitments to make their communities safer for pollinators by enhancing pollinator habitat on public and private lands, and 31 colleges and universities have become Bee Campus USA affiliates. We even helped to launch Bee City Canada." Learn more at beecityusa.org and Facebook.

 Lady Spirit Moon at our holiday party! She was not available for the original photo shoot, so Leonora Stefanile (a former student) put on the wings for BEe Healing Guild. 

Lady Spirit Moon at our holiday party! She was not available for the original photo shoot, so Leonora Stefanile (a former student) put on the wings for BEe Healing Guild. 


  Leonora Stefanile, standing in for Lady Spirit Moon, Founder, BEe Healing Guild    BEe Healing Guild  is a 501c3 that was founded by Lady Spirit Moon in Hot Springs, NC in 2015. The BEe Healing Guild teaches BEe Perspective Beekeeping, a no-treatment method that views and interacts with the hive in the way it would exist in nature and focuses on the bees rather than what humans are getting from them. The goal is not to interfere with the honeybee’s natural processes. Nothing is put into the hive that the bees wouldn’t naturally bring through their entrances. In 2018 the non-profit is offering 2-3 scholarships, (classes, training, attendance to the Annual Gathering, bees, and hives) to hobbyists of low income, farmers, or those who are physically challenged. Learn more at http://beehealingguild.org/   

Leonora Stefanile, standing in for Lady Spirit Moon, Founder, BEe Healing Guild

BEe Healing Guild is a 501c3 that was founded by Lady Spirit Moon in Hot Springs, NC in 2015. The BEe Healing Guild teaches BEe Perspective Beekeeping, a no-treatment method that views and interacts with the hive in the way it would exist in nature and focuses on the bees rather than what humans are getting from them. The goal is not to interfere with the honeybee’s natural processes. Nothing is put into the hive that the bees wouldn’t naturally bring through their entrances. In 2018 the non-profit is offering 2-3 scholarships, (classes, training, attendance to the Annual Gathering, bees, and hives) to hobbyists of low income, farmers, or those who are physically challenged. Learn more at http://beehealingguild.org/

 


  Rebecca Robertson, Founding member of Asheville Bee-Centric Alliance   The   Asheville Bee-Centric Alliance   is a Western North Carolina  group of organic beekeepers focused on encouraging honey bees that are naturally resistant to mites and other pests without the standard practice of using chemicals in the hive. Their breeding program fosters specific genetic characteristics that ensure healthier colonies adapted to local regions. The  ABCA  is also dedicated to hosting educational workshops and sharing a variety of treatment-free beekeeping practices with the broader community. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/localqueenbreeding/  "How does one find deep joy and why I have become a Bee Tender?  🐝When I was only two years old I was swarmed upon by my dad's bees. My mother said they pulled 49 stingers out of my head alone. My dad got rid of the  bees shortly after that  🐝Fifty years later I met my She-ro and drum teacher. Her name was Layne Redmond and she'd written a groundbreaking book that many women are familiar with called  When Drummers Were Women . In this book about drummers Layne's research showed that the Frame Drum was used primarily by women in Ancient temples as a way to induce altered states of higher consciousness. Those temples were built to honor various goddesses  AND here's the stunner! Those temples recognized the Divine nature of the Bee and they were occupied by Bee Priestesses.  🐝One finds true joy by striving towards excellence based on ones unique talents and potential. I learned from Oprah's magazine that this is called EUDAIMONIA.  Bee-Tending involves many compelling reasons and has lead me to an exploration in the environment,anthropology, the goddess, sacred geometry, meditation and deep community with other Bee-loveds.  🐝There is a notion that to be stung on your crown chakra designates you as chosen by the bees. So you see, it took me 50 years to come full circle, to find that thing that satisfies me deeply on so many levels. To be ready for a "true calling" that had been reaching out and waiting patiently for me since I was 2 years old.  🐝It's mesmerizing and healing to be around the bees. They smell of honey and propolis. Their hummmm is soothing to the central nervous system and literally vibrates our cells into balance. To be among the bees is a walking meditation, it's a lesson in being present. It deepens one sense of the environment around you. You become part of their super orgasm, you become touched by their consciousness and their needs. Their gift is to all humanity. There is no greater symbol of fertility on this planet and how to live in perfect community.  The quest to know more about the bees has led me to study with Laura Ferguson -The College of Melissae (a Sacred BeeKeeping School), at Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, the Sacred Trust in England and to explore ancient Bee Temples around the world.

Rebecca Robertson, Founding member of Asheville Bee-Centric Alliance

The Asheville Bee-Centric Alliance is a Western North Carolina  group of organic beekeepers focused on encouraging honey bees that are naturally resistant to mites and other pests without the standard practice of using chemicals in the hive. Their breeding program fosters specific genetic characteristics that ensure healthier colonies adapted to local regions. The ABCA is also dedicated to hosting educational workshops and sharing a variety of treatment-free beekeeping practices with the broader community. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/localqueenbreeding/

"How does one find deep joy and why I have become a Bee Tender?

🐝When I was only two years old I was swarmed upon by my dad's bees. My mother said they pulled 49 stingers out of my head alone. My dad got rid of the  bees shortly after that

🐝Fifty years later I met my She-ro and drum teacher. Her name was Layne Redmond and she'd written a groundbreaking book that many women are familiar with called When Drummers Were Women. In this book about drummers Layne's research showed that the Frame Drum was used primarily by women in Ancient temples as a way to induce altered states of higher consciousness. Those temples were built to honor various goddesses  AND here's the stunner! Those temples recognized the Divine nature of the Bee and they were occupied by Bee Priestesses.

🐝One finds true joy by striving towards excellence based on ones unique talents and potential. I learned from Oprah's magazine that this is called EUDAIMONIA.

Bee-Tending involves many compelling reasons and has lead me to an exploration in the environment,anthropology, the goddess, sacred geometry, meditation and deep community with other Bee-loveds.

🐝There is a notion that to be stung on your crown chakra designates you as chosen by the bees. So you see, it took me 50 years to come full circle, to find that thing that satisfies me deeply on so many levels. To be ready for a "true calling" that had been reaching out and waiting patiently for me since I was 2 years old.

🐝It's mesmerizing and healing to be around the bees. They smell of honey and propolis. Their hummmm is soothing to the central nervous system and literally vibrates our cells into balance. To be among the bees is a walking meditation, it's a lesson in being present. It deepens one sense of the environment around you. You become part of their super orgasm, you become touched by their consciousness and their needs. Their gift is to all humanity. There is no greater symbol of fertility on this planet and how to live in perfect community.

The quest to know more about the bees has led me to study with Laura Ferguson -The College of Melissae (a Sacred BeeKeeping School), at Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, the Sacred Trust in England and to explore ancient Bee Temples around the world.


  Debra Roberts, Founder of Holy Bee Press, International Teacher and bee steward    Holy Bee Press  is a crossroads for honeybee-loving people and a portal for The Sacred Path of Bee. It was founded by Debra Roberts, an international teacher and bee steward who travels on the Good Bee Road sharing her compassionate beekeeping practices, passion for bees, and the inspiration they awaken in her life. Holy Bee Press shines a light on our sacred relationship with honeybees and builds bridges amongst the world bee community. Debra’s travels are made possible through the generous invitation and support of hosts and many kind donations from honeybee appreciators. Learn more at http://holybeepress.com/  "I am a free-range honeybee lover, international educator, advocate, artist, and celebrant … claimed by the bees, body and soul. I am often in the bee sanctuary, a fragrant and tranquil mecca inhabited by a congregation of thousands who have long been celebrating High Bee Communion together. It is where I recalibrate and recollect myself, where I restore my soul.  Honeybees are some of my highest teachers. Across the years, a sacred mutual kinship with them has revealed itself on its own terms, grounded in bee time and not governed by human agenda. To be around them and move amongst them in a deeply harmonious way is a core presence practice in my day. These tiny winged rinpoches remind me of my   essential benevolent nature,   creature-hood, and place at the table with all life, all my relations. In this time, it is my belief that the bees (and so many other life forms) are calling out our most loving presence in the world."

Debra Roberts, Founder of Holy Bee Press, International Teacher and bee steward

Holy Bee Press is a crossroads for honeybee-loving people and a portal for The Sacred Path of Bee. It was founded by Debra Roberts, an international teacher and bee steward who travels on the Good Bee Road sharing her compassionate beekeeping practices, passion for bees, and the inspiration they awaken in her life. Holy Bee Press shines a light on our sacred relationship with honeybees and builds bridges amongst the world bee community. Debra’s travels are made possible through the generous invitation and support of hosts and many kind donations from honeybee appreciators. Learn more at http://holybeepress.com/

"I am a free-range honeybee lover, international educator, advocate, artist, and celebrant … claimed by the bees, body and soul. I am often in the bee sanctuary, a fragrant and tranquil mecca inhabited by a congregation of thousands who have long been celebrating High Bee Communion together. It is where I recalibrate and recollect myself, where I restore my soul.

Honeybees are some of my highest teachers. Across the years, a sacred mutual kinship with them has revealed itself on its own terms, grounded in bee time and not governed by human agenda. To be around them and move amongst them in a deeply harmonious way is a core presence practice in my day. These tiny winged rinpoches remind me of my essential benevolent nature, creature-hood, and place at the table with all life, all my relations. In this time, it is my belief that the bees (and so many other life forms) are calling out our most loving presence in the world."


  Matthew Willey, Artist and Founder, The Good of the Hive Initiative   Artist  Matthew Willey  is the founder of   The Good of the Hive  Initiative , and creator of this holiday campaign. He has committed to personally paint 50,000 honeybees – the number necessary for a healthy, thriving hive – in murals around the world. Through art and imagination,  The Good of the Hive  raises awareness about the importance of honeybees and other pollinators while celebrating their incredible behaviors. Learn more at www.TheGoodoftheHive.com

Matthew Willey, Artist and Founder, The Good of the Hive Initiative

Artist Matthew Willey is the founder of The Good of the Hive Initiative, and creator of this holiday campaign. He has committed to personally paint 50,000 honeybees – the number necessary for a healthy, thriving hive – in murals around the world. Through art and imagination, The Good of the Hive raises awareness about the importance of honeybees and other pollinators while celebrating their incredible behaviors. Learn more at www.TheGoodoftheHive.com

Stay tuned for facebook and instagram posts about the campaign! 

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