EC student creates hotels for bees

This is one of six bee hotels you can find around River Prairie.
This is one of six bee hotels you can find around River Prairie.(WEAU)
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Hundreds of guests are checking into six new, buzzworthy hotels in Altoona.

With all these puns, you’ve probably already guessed it: these hotels that can be found in River Prairie are made for bees.

They’re the focus of one student’s project he hopes will help him become an Eagle Scout.

“We have bamboo sticks and blocks of wood that have holes in them, so the bees will go into the holes, lay their eggs and fill in the holes,” said Keanan VandenBush, the scout behind the project.

A place for birds and now a place for bees too--these bee hotels are part of Keanan VandenBush’s Eagle Scout project.

“When I do my eagle project, I want it to be something nature-related, sustainability-related, and I was kind of like brainstorming, and my grandfather came to me with a news article about bee hotels being made,” VandenBush said. “And I was like: ‘Oh, that’s really interesting.’”

Made of cedar, other hard woods and bamboo, the hotels are scattered around part of River Prairie in Altoona.

For Keanan’s mom Kelly VandenBush, she said it’s exciting to see the impact these hotels are having on the community.

“We’ve come down here for walks a couple times a week just to count how many bees are in the holes, and it’s been kind of fun to see other people interacting and learning from the bee hotels as well,” Kelly VandenBush said.

Each hotel comes with a little plaque sharing a few facts about the bees making a home in these boxes.

Keanan’s Troop Scout Master Mark Berger said these hotels fit all that Scouts BSA stands for.

“Community...leadership...outdoors, this project is excellent,” Berger said. “Keanan was an outdoors ethics guide for us, and he did a tremendous job in that, and you can see his interest in the outdoors, in his leadership with the troop. This was the perfect project for him.”

VandenBush said with the help of other scouts in his troop, it took about two hours to complete the hotels.

If VandenBush is approved to become an Eagle Scout, he will join his grandfather and many others in his family who have earned that honor. He’ll be the 16th Eagle Scout in his family.

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