The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and Tennessee State Parks (TSP) launched the TSP Honey Project across various state parks to
- Promote pollinator and environmental health in our parks
- Provide an experiential learning opportunity for visitors
- Produce sweet treats for our guests
Since its establishment, the Honey Project has installed honey bee hives at 39 state parks across Tennessee with at least two hives at each park. Parks bottle and sell the honey in state park gift shops based on their hive's production. Honey production fluctuates based on a variety of factors such as the amount of food available in the area. If a park's hives have produced enough honey, bottling usually occurs sometime between May and September. To find out if a park is currently selling honey, please contact the park directly. Tennessee State Park restaurants also use the honey as a way to pursue sustainability.
Since pollinator health is critical to Tennessee's agricultural, environmental, and ecological health, these tiny insects open the door to discuss a myriad of environmental issues.
TDEC has worked alongside several partners to get this project off the ground. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s State Apiarist, Mike Studer, advised on several topics including technical assistance, beehive health, and community contacts. TRICOR, a company that provides occupational and life skills training for Tennessee's incarcerated population through job training, program opportunities, and transitional services designed to assist Offenders with successful reintegration into society, built the hives for the first 6 parks.
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Support Our Beehives
Some of our parks offer the opportunity to symbolically "adopt a beehive" by donating. The funds are used towards maintenance and equipment costs associated with keeping honey bees at the park.