Student organization spreads environmental awareness through beekeeping

Council opening a beehive at DreamWorks Bees.

Council opening a beehive at DreamWorks Bees.
Photo Courtesy Kayla Werich

Brianna Benitez

Bobcat Buzz, Texas State’s agriculture club, works to encourage and inform people on the importance of pollinator preservation and the life of bees.

The organization focuses on bees, sustainability and environmental health. Members strive to ensure bees in the San Marcos community are kept healthy and safe.

Bobcat Buzz currently provides care to bees at Texas State’s bee garden, located near the agriculture building, by Hines.Members are regular volunteers at DreamWorks Bees, a local apiary in Wimberley, where they perform hive inspections, process honey, melt wax and scrape old hive frames.

Bobcat Buzz is open to anyone interested in the art of beekeeping. Meetings are held every other Wednesday at 6 p.m. in either the bee garden or Evans Liberal Arts building.

Kayla Werich, resource and environmental studies senior, is the president of Bobcat Buzz. As president, Werich organizes the semester agenda, arranges events and tends to the beehives on campus. She joined Bobcat Buzz her sophomore year after gaining an interest in beekeeping.

“One of my family members actually did beekeeping as a hobby, so I figured it be pretty cool to join,” Werich said.

When she first joined, she had few experiences in beekeeping. During her first hive inspection, she ended up running away from the hive when a few bees found their way into her suit.

“Once I got to know more about bees, it was actually pretty cool having them fly around me,” Werich said.

Bobcat Buzz stresses how the decline in honey bees is a reflection of habitat loss and climate change. Werich said approximately one-third of the food consumed by humans is a result of the honey bee population.

Bobcat Buzz is a community of students aiming to focus on sustainable living and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Katie Cushen, communications senior, is the secretary of Bobcat Buzz. As secretary, she maintains the email list, takes attendance and helps organize meetings.

Cushen said she joined Bobcat Buzz to be part of a like-minded community that shares similar views on the environment. For Cushen, the best thing about Bobcat Buzz is being able to work closely with bees and learning more about the species everyday.

“The first time I opened up a hive and saw all the bees was really magical,” Cushen said.

Bobcat Buzz focuses on improving insect diversity in response to the current issues of climate change.

“Insect diversity is an indicator of how healthy an ecosystem is,” Cushen said. “We have far less insect diversity that we used to, so it is important we focus on bugs.”

Being apart of Bobcat Buzz has allowed members to be in-tune with the environment. Bobcat Buzz is an opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with areas of local pollinators and plants.

Ryan Council, wildlife biology senior, is the vice president of Bobcat Buzz. As vice president, Council manages the hives on campus and arranges field trips to DreamWorks Bees.

Before joining Bobcat Buzz, Council did beekeeping as a hobby, which lead to securing a part-time job as a beekeeper. Council’s love for beekeeping has expanded as a result of being part of a group passionate about bees.

Council said Bobcat Buzz is a diverse organization with members from all areas of study. There are no set criteria to join.

“When I first joined the club, I thought it would be just horticultural majors and a few people into farming,” Council said. “There’s actually a surprising amount of other majors from computer science to theater.”

Being a member of Bobcat Buzz has provided Council with an organization of people sharing similar interests as him. He said beekeeping can be hard to do without the proper community. Luckily, Bobcat Buzz is a group of individuals who spark joy in preserving pollinators.

“I have yet to meet a grumpy beekeeper,” Council said. “I mean, besides a beekeeper who may have gotten stung one too many times in a day.”

For Council, the inner workings of a hive are intriguing. He said bees are often perceived as terrifying organisms, but in reality, the creatures are sweet individuals who provide a calming effect when cared for.

Bobcat Buzz works hard to increase awareness about bees and other pollinators in the San Marcos community. To learn more about Bobcat Buzz and future events, follow them on Instagram at @txstbees

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