The Bee Cause Project aims to create future bee keepers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

The Bee Cause Project aims to create future bee keepers

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

When you think of bees, you probably think of the annoying insects that try to sting you.

But one Savannah businessman and philanthropist wants to change that perception, especially for children.

The nonprofit aims to create the future generation of bee keepers. It's called the Bee Cause, and the founders are trying to teach school children just how important honey bees are to our environment.

Ted Dennerd spends his days surrounded by thousands of honey bees. As a young boy, he was introduced to the craft by a family friend.

"On the weekends I would work with him and just become, I don't know, I fell in love with honey and bees," he said.

After graduating with a philosophy degree and working several jobs, he realized his true passion was beekeeping, so he began the Savannah Bee Company.

The rest is history.

"Fifteen years later, 1,500 stores, 60 plus employees that carry the honey," he said. "Business carried itself."

Now, Dennerd wants to pay it forward.

"Last year I found myself thinking I have a little free time, and I always wanted to be a teacher and get into education, so I created a nonprofit called the Bee Cause Project because bees are under duress all over the world," he said.

The Bee Cause Project aims to put one thousand bee hives in schools across the country, including Savannah-Chatham Public Schools.

Bynikini Frazier, a first grade teacher at Hodge Elementary and SCCPSS Teacher of the Year, knows firsthand how much of an impact the Bee Cause has on students.

"It was a wonderful surprise and a wonderful gift, and the children are so excited and so happy about this wonderful gift to our school," she said.

Each day she selects two to three students as beekeepers. They observe the hive, take notes, make drawings and report back to their classmates.

"We're tying in all of the academics, but we're having a whole lot of fun as well," she said.

She said this shows the children that the sky is the limit.

"It shoes them that you really can go anywhere from here," she said. "The world is connected, the importance of community support in our school. They're learning about the possibilities. Who's to say these children won't grow up and become bee keepers or work for the Savannah Bee Company."

And the students at Hodge Elementary could end up giving Dennerd a run for his money one day.

"This one girl that spotted the queen bee," he said. "I was looking for the queen. They teach me things I didn't know, and I've been learning for 30 something years."

And he hope the learning will continue for generations to come.

"Just like old Roy, he passed the torch to me," he said. "I'm passing the torch to them."

Schools that get a honeybee observation hive have to agree to run an annual fundraiser selling Bee Cause honey, and that money helps care for the bees and installs hives at other schools.

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