Frank Whitby, UROC member and amateur beekeeper promotes beekeeping and urban gardening in Salt Lake City. Frank's son Jack is in Boy Scout Troop 202 at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Salt Lake City. St. Ambrose is the patron saint of beekeepers and candle makers, so Frank thought it appropriate that the scouts work on the beekeeping merit badge.
The beekeeping merit badge, By the way, was eliminated by the boy scouts in 1995 for lack of interest in the activity, but this has not stopped the scouts Of Troop 202 from working on it. The scouts started with class work in February, helped Frank maintain and inspect his existing hives in March and April, and then started up their own hives in late April.
The scouts also started a third hive after capturing a swarm in May. The scouts periodically inspect and maintain their hives in Frank's back yard and are hoping for a plentiful honey harvest this summer. In addition to those three hives, the scouts helped Frank create the first official city-sponsored beehives on the roof of the downtown Salt Lake City library. The hives are visible to the public and have attracted intense interest since their installation a few weeks ago.
Frank and the scouts have engaged the library staff in beekeeping, helping them to learn about beekeeping and by giving tours of the hives. The scouts of Troop 202 are learning valuable lessons in beekeeping and civic involvement thanks to the generous support of the Salt Lake City Library, the Salt Lake City Council, the Mayor, and the Utah Department of Agriculture.
The scouts hope to use honey from their own hives for fundraising and Frank hopes that the library hives will produce the first official City Honey for the benefit of all Salt Lake residents. Frank says that he dreams of beehives on the roofs of lots of city buildings. As he sees it, bees benefit urban gardeners and enrich the lives of everyone who lives in the city.
As for the scouts, Frank says that he has 17 scouts who have, so far, completed part of the requirements for the beekeeping merit badge. He anticipates that each scout will dedicate more than 20 hours to the installation and management of the hives before the end of summer and he expects the scouts to enter their honey at the Utah State Fair in September. Frank notes that as far as he is concerned, "earning the beekeeping merit badge is not meant to be easy, it is meant to be important". Frank invites all UROC members to take a trip to the fifth floor of the downtown library to see the bees.