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Honeybee mural headed to Peterborough

  •  Melissa Stephenson of Peterborough teaches The Well School first grade class about the honeybee at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday as part of the newly formed New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • The NH Honey Bee Initiative held its first educational event at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  •  Melissa Stephenson of Peterborough teaches The Well School first grade class about the honeybee at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday as part of the newly formed New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Kin Schilling of Hancock teaches Well School fifth through seventh graders about the honeybee at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday afternoon.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Kin Schilling, on the right, feeds honey to Graeme Watson, 12, of Peterborough during at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday during a NH Honey Bee Initiative educational event.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • The Well School students Maeve Coyle, 12, of Peterborough and Amira Kettaneh of Hollis create art at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday during a NH Honey Bee Initiative educational event.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Tuesday, Kin Schilling of Hancock shows Well School 5th through 7th graders the Peterborough Community Center wall on which a honeybee mural will be painted this summer.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Well School first grader Sienna Johnson, 7, paints a bee at the Peterborough Community Center on Tuesday at an educational event held by the newly formed New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • The Well School first grade students learn about the honeybee and make art at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday as part of the newly formed New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Kin Schilling of Hancock kicked off her latest project – the New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative – Tuesday at the Peterborough Community Center with The Well School first grade class.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • A honeybee painted by a Well School first grader at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • A honeybee painted by a Well School first grader at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Kin Schilling of Hancock kicks off her latest project – the New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative – Tuesday at the Peterborough Community Center with The Well School first grade class.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Kin Schilling buzzes out of the Peterborough Community Center with The Well School first grade class Tuesday.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Kin Schilling of Hancock kicks off her latest project – the New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative – Tuesday at the Peterborough Community Center with The Well School first grade class.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Graeme Watson, 12, of Peterborough and Hayden Weeks, 12, of Greenfield make art at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday during a NH Honey Bee Initiative educational event.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Oren Gallagher, 11, of Hancock and Robert Lefevre, 13, of Deering make art at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday during a NH Honey Bee Initiative educational event.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Oren Gallagher, 11, of Hancock and Robert Lefevre, 13, of Deering make art at the Peterborough Community Center Tuesday during a NH Honey Bee Initiative educational event.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, June 06, 2018 6:43PM

The newly formed New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative is raising $20,000 to bring honeybee muralist Matthew Willey to Peterborough for the month of August.

Kin Schilling of Hancock and Melissa Stephenson of Peterborough are the founders of the NH Honey Bee Initiative, which they are working to establish as a state-wide non-profit.

Willey is a New York-based artist who through the initiative he founded, the Good of the Hive Initiative, plans to paint 50,000 honeybees – the equivalent of a honeybee hive -- through his mural art throughout the world.

Like the Good of the Hive, the NH Honey Bee Initiative is aimed at raising awareness around the plight of the honeybee.

Honeybee colonies are facing extinction from a host of threats including pesticides, loss of habitat, climate change, invasive plants and parasites.

Willey will spend August painting a mural of honeybees on an exterior wall of the Peterborough Community Center.

“He will be here for the whole month,” Schilling said Tuesday.

Schilling said this mural will be his first in the Granite State. 

“The true reason is we are losing pollinators and pollinators are key. They pollinate 80 percent of our food. And if we loss pollinators, especially bees, our food system will fail,” Schilling said.

The mural is a big undertaking for the newly formed initiative, but just the beginning of the NH Honey Bee Initiative, Schilling and Stephenson said.

Tuesday the women met with students from The Well School to educate them on the honeybee as well as to create some honeybee art that will go on display inside the community center to generate awareness and interest in the fundraising for the mural.

The women also plan to meet with ConVal High School students on Monday to continue to educate on the initiative and honeybees.

“It's a passion for us, the way Cornucopia was,” Schilling said.

Schilling founded the Cornucopia Project in 2006 to teach gardening to children. She wanted to integrate gardening and healthy eating education into the community. Cornucopia now has gardening programs in all eight ConVal School District elementary schools as well as several community gardens, including one at the Peterborough Community Center.

“When I started Cornucopia I thought, if I had one child become an advocate of healthy food, farming or become a farmer I would feel successful. And now I have four,” Schilling said.

For Schilling, the NH Honey Bee Initiative is an extension of what she started at the Cornucopia Project. “We want to go to classrooms and talk about bees.”

For their first day of outreach, Schilling and Stephenson did well according to the children. 

“I knew nothing about bees, but now I know a lot,” said Well School student 11-year-old Oren Gallagher of Hancock Tuesday afternoon.

The Town of Peterborough has offered up the 20 foot by 50 foot south-facing entrance wall of Peterborough’s Community Center for the mural. Schilling said, Willey will welcome people to come and watch him create the mural during August. 

Stephenson is a member of the Monadnock Beekeepers and the New Hampshire Beekeepers associations and has extensive knowledge of hives and beekeeping. 

“I grew up with a backyard beekeeper father and we had an observation hive in our family room,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson is hoping beekeepers from around state will contribute to the new initiative. 

You can pledge or contribute to the New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative at PO Box 3, Peterborough, NH 03458 or nhbeemural@gmail.com.

Monadnock Buy Local has also created a ‘The Local Crowd’ Monadnock fundraiser for the mural project to its page, at monadnocklocal.org/tlc.