HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) - A chance phone call from a water bottling company over a problem with bees, started a project for an East Texas high school Ag class.
that project has now blossomed into a thriving business.
The Hawkins FFA 4-G Honey Team made national news with their ingenuity in beekeeping.
“I’d say from the beginning from the start of it, it’s actually come a very long way,” said senior student Rachel Parish.
It’s started last year with a phone call from the Ozarka Spring Water factory in Hawkins.
“We received a phone call from Ozarka. They had a problem with bees swarming the plant, swarming around where the truck drivers go. Becoming a nuisance,” says Hawkins ag and science teacher Matt Byrd.
Knowing little or nothing about bees, the ag team took on the challenge, learning how important bees are.
“If bees were to disappear today, in three years we’d have a hard time finding food. I have no experience in beekeeping, so had to learn as much as the team did,” Byrd says.
“Definitely a learning process. Learning how to put the hives together, process honey,” says 16-year-old student Chloe Maricle.
Ozarka funded the project, providing access to its land, bee suits, wood and other needed equipment.
They started with five hives, but the team now has 40.
They worked through the COVID-19 challenge, often spending six or seven days a week at Ozarka managing each of the hives.
“Throughout the school day we work, after school we work, before school, on the weekends, during summer, spring break,” says senior Brook Goddard.
And success has been...well...sweet.
They’ve been selling their honey to local businesses.
“We ship orders all over the United States,” says Byrd.
The school now has training hives for Ag students on campus.
All proceeds from the sale of honey goes into a scholarship fund for Hawkins students.