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Hope Dominicans
Sisters abuzz about new bee legislation

The bees have found a home in the Village of Ossining, New York. The Village Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 to override the long-standing ordinance against bee keeping in Ossining. Through a concerted effort on the part of many residents, gardeners, friends and neighbors, beekeepers as well as trustees and their counsel, consensus was finally reached. A vote in support of bees and beekeeping passed unanimously.

The Dominican Sisters of Hope (Ossining), have long been proponents of the bees. The sisters have spoken at public hearings, written and submitted their support of the bees to the trustees, hosted the Croton Bee Keepers and the Hudson Valley Natural Beekeepers meetings at Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center, and even screened a bee film shown to the mayor and trustees.

Sisters Nancy Erts, OP, Bette Ann Jaster, OP, and Carlos Santiago, physical plant manager (and future beekeeper) at Mariandale, were present for the approval of the new legislation on Wednesday. “I am very excited and extremely grateful that the Village Trustees voted for the bees’ sake tonight,” said Sister Bette Ann. “We are planting for the pollinators here at Mariandale, and hope to attract monarch butterflies as well as bees. We plan to tend our own bees as part of creating a sustainable and hospitable environment. It’s wonderful to partner with the Village board and their amazing staff in this transformation.”

This new legislation, approved last night sets in place protection from liability for the village and safe standards and protection for the bees. Simply stated, the law is entitled “Revisions to Chapter 75 ‘Animals’ to Require Apiary Registration.” Parameters are set that include: Registration of the hive; requirement for training before starting a hive insuring best practices and on-going support; required distances from local sidewalks, etc. These and other regulations will be available from The Village Clerks office and the Village website.

Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center is a sponsored ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. The full-service retreat center has an outdoor labyrinth, nature trails, and a community garden. For more information about the Dominican Sisters of Hope, visit www.ophope.org. For more information about the legislation, visit the official web site of The Village of Ossining.

Read more about the importance of pollinators on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service web site. Also, June 16–22 is National Pollinator Week!