Saving veterans and bees with Heroes to Hives program

In 2016, Michigan State University Extension introduced the Heroes to Hives (H2H) program to support veteran wellness through professional training and community development centered on beekeeping.

Heroes to Hives

Michigan is home to approximately 620,000 veterans who face a multitude of challenges as they transition from military to civilian life. Many transitioning veterans struggle with the loss of camaraderie and support they experienced in their military units, often resulting in feelings of isolation and loss. 

In 2016, Michigan State University Extension introduced the Heroes to Hives (H2H) program to support veteran wellness through professional training and community development centered on beekeeping. Vets leave the nine-month program with a broad depth of beekeeping knowledge and develop a support system of peers, easing their transition into civilian life. In two years, the number of participants in H2H has increased from 5 to 108.

  • 67% of H2H enrollees currently keep bees, but 33% are new to beekeeping.
  • Of students surveyed upon completing the program: 38% want to have a beekeeping business, 27% want to use their knowledge to benefit their farm with pollinators, 25% want to start beekeeping as a hobby and 11% want to work for a commercial beekeeper.

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