As recently as five years ago, bees were mostly thought of as a nuisance, according to PennEnvironment director David Masur. These days, thanks to environmental campaigns like the Philly nonprofit’s “Save the Bees” project, the buzzing pollinators are beloved. Or if not exactly beloved, then respected enough for their critical role in our ecosystem that beers are brewed in their honor.
On Thursday, May 25, Second District Brewing is hosting a special happy hour fundraiser to support “Save the Bees.”
For the event, brewmaster Ben Potts created a limited-edition beer with local honey, and chef Doreen DeMarco whipped up a selection of honey-infused snacks. There’s also a special honey-based cocktail made with booze from Pottstown’s Manatawny Still Works, and a portion of the profits from the evening’s sales will benefit PennEnvironment’s bee-friendly efforts.
But while extra cash is always useful — the organization is funded entirely from citizens, with no direct corporate donations or government grants — Masur said that’s not the event’s primary goal.
“Our events aren’t usually set up to raise money,” he mused, “though I would like to get better at that.” Instead, they’re focused on raising awareness.
For example, on Tuesday PennEnvironment hosted a “bake sale” outside the Philadelphia EPA office. “It’s tongue in cheek, really,” Masur explained. “The $8 they’ll get from selling cookies is not the point. It’s to draw attention to Trump’s proposed EPA budget cuts.”
No telling whether the bake sale will convince constituents to call elected officials in large enough quantity to turn the cuts into a major political issue, but in the case of the bees, Masur noted, awareness campaigns have worked surprisingly well. At a meeting with Congressman Dwight Evans recently, he recalled, he was shocked when a staffer randomly brought up having installed a hive in her backyard. “Most people are familiar with colony collapse,” he said.
Second District is counting on that awareness to bring people out on Thursday. That, and the strong lineup of DeMarco’s food. Expect bites like honey ice cream, chicken nuggets with honey dipping sauce, honey creme brulee and baked feta with honey, all available for $5 to $10.
There’s also the very cool keepsake glasses, which, especially if you’re a bee fan, are probably reason enough to head over.