Stanley prison beekeeping program maintains 'green initiatives'

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STANLEY, Wis. (WEAU) -- It’s a place secured by wired fences and guards, but just outside Stanley Correctional Institution, thousands of new residents are buzzing, bringing a sweeter side to the prison campus.

On Monday, Stanley Correctional Institution employees suited up to help make their new bees feel at home.

The beekeeping program at Stanley Correctional is a new addition to its continued environmental efforts.

“It's been a slow, methodic process finding all the right fits for our facility here, starting with composting, reducing our trash output, moving on to gardening, producing our own produce for the inmates,” says Tom Zemaitis, Building and Grounds Superintendent at Stanley Correctional Institution.

The latest effort has planted 100 donated apple trees on the facilities campus, which is where the bees will come in to help.

“A lot of it is more sustainable, you get more agriculture out of what you plant if have bees to pollinate it,” says Sgt. Emilie Wentworth of the Stanley Correctional Institution.

Feeding the inmates more than 11,000 pounds of fresh produce, and saving more than $20,000 in waste disposal, not only are these efforts cost effective, but they're also giving back to the environment.

“Being able to do something than just being a big collection of buildings here, to make a positive impact on the environment and the community,” explains Zemaitis.

The green initiative projects also help get those who live and work inside the prison more involved.

“I like the pro-social aspect of it in the institution as well,” says Wentworth. "They're always interested, asking questions, you know 'who's working with the bees?' and I like seeing that positive interaction."

Right now, there isn't enough honey for it to be processed, but WEAU’s Brooke Schwieters did give it a taste and says it was delicious, proving that there is always room for something sweet in unexpected places.