Helping Bees & Beekeepers since 2012
* Incorporated as a nonprofit in 2018 *
Long Beach Beekeepers is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to educating the public about alternatives to killing unwanted honey bee colonies. Founding members Henry Kurland, Dick Barnes, Jaime Guoz, Roberta Kato and Barbara Sinclair started the group in 2012, meeting monthly and working tirelessly to rescue bees and promote the club at community events.
Club meetings focused on sharing best beekeeping practices and providing an informative environment for both the novice and the experienced beekeeper. The word spread and membership grew.
Long Beach Beekeepers lobbied the City of Long Beach to amend the municipal code allowing urban agriculture, including bees. That measure passed unanimously in 2015, making backyard bees legal in Long Beach. The ordinance includes regulations such as a limit on the number of hives per residence.
The growing strength of the club and the increasing awareness of the plight of the honey bee led to more challenges. As word spread that honey bees could be relocated rather than exterminated, rescuers faced a shortage of private property to house rescued bees. Beginning in 2013, Long Beach Beekeepers began working with the City of Long Beach to create a Bee Sanctuary. The concept was to provide a temporary home for rescued bees that would later be adopted by qualified beekeepers. The Willow Springs Bee Sanctuary opened in 2017.
Determined more could be accomplished as a nonprofit, Long Beach Beekeepers began the incorporation process in 2016 with the help of local attorney David Zeligs. His work with a core group of volunteers resulted in the club becoming a full-fledged nonprofit corporation in 2018.
Urban environments provide honey bees and other bees with amazingly
diverse forage! In return, the bees give us an index of environmental
health, pollinate important food crops, and can even be managed to
provide fresh, local honey.
The Willow Springs Bee Sanctuary provides stands for hive boxes, room to
work the bees and an open top to allow the honey bees in and out
Willow Springs Bee Sanctuary
Helping our Bees and our Neighbors
The Bee Sanctuary at Willow Springs provides a temporary home for bee swarms while we search for a permanent home with a qualified beekeeper.
The club founders began pursuing the bee refuge concept in 2013. The City of Long Beach's Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine approved the project in 2016 and we celebrated our grand opening in 2017. Needing to comply with city regulations, we obtained our nonprofit status. Plans to open moved forward with assistance from the Office of Sustainability.
In addition to the land adjacent to Willow Springs Park, we needed a structure to enclose the bee hives and allow the bees to come and go to forage for food and water. That led to a terrific partnership with Long Beach Boy Scout Troop 105 and Eagle Scout candidate Mauri Lathouwers. The Scouts banded together to clear and prepare the site before building a screened, roofless structure with benches to hold hive boxes.
The bee sanctuary opened in 2017. Apiary Manager Jon Vesely manages day-to-day operations.
Board of Directors
Gabe Avenna & Mike Pack
Henry Kurland, founding President of the Long Beach Beekeepers, at the opening of the Willow Springs Bee Sanctuary.