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Buzz on Over to Bee Fest at the Belle Isle Nature Center

August 17 event celebrates National Honey Bee Day

The Belle Isle Nature Center will be buzzing with excitement on Saturday, August 17, for the fourth annual Bee Fest in celebration of National Honey Bee Day.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature beekeeper talks, arts and crafts, local honey tasting, demonstrations on planting and maintaining a bee-friendly garden and a children’s bee costume parade.

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Musical performances by singer, songwriter and earth educator Joe Reilly will complement an exhibition of images by macro photographer Joseph Ferraro, offering a close-up glimpse at the tiny pollinators found in and around local flowers. The Bees Weeds will offer honey tastings as well as balms and soaps made from local beeswax, and will discuss what people can do in their yards to help pollinators.

“Honey bees continue to face serious challenges in today’s environment, including mites, viruses, diseases and pesticides,” said Amy Greene, nature centers director for the Detroit Zoological Society. “This event is a fun way to educate the community about what is happening with bees and how we can all help.”

Admission to the Belle Isle Nature Center and all Bee Fest activities are free.

The Belle Isle Nature Center features an observation beehive which provides a close-up view of the busy daily lives of honey bees. Sealed tightly within a double-sided glass case, and with a tunnel providing the bees year-round access to the outdoors, the hive allows guests to watch the bees do what they do best – work.

“Native bees pollinate about one-third of the food we consume – the work they do is more valuable than we realize,” Greene said. “They are the most prolific pollinators in the natural world.”

Operated by the Detroit Zoological Society, the Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle in Detroit.  The facility features indoor animal habitats, a bee exhibit, bird observation window, outdoor native butterfly garden, outdoor classrooms, nature play area and the Blue Heron Lagoon nature trail.

Located at the east end of Belle Isle near the Blue Heron Lagoon, the Belle Isle Nature Center is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October and Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March.  Admission to the Nature Center is free; a State of Michigan Recreation Passport is required for all personal vehicles to enter Belle Isle State Park.  For information, visit

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