In 2017, Puerto Rico was struck by the catastrophic Hurricane Maria. While I was sitting on the balcony of my apartment a few days after the disaster, I noticed large swarms of bees would approach our plants. As I watched the news later that evening, I came across an interview with a beekeeper urging people to place a plate with water and sugar outside to help feed the bees. The hurricane decimated 80% of the bee population leading to numerous accounts of distraught bees searching for food. The interview and statistic captivated my attention. With the drive to learn more, I began my research into the world of bees. It turns out the root causes of colony decline are a mixture of climate change, pesticides, and other land-use issues. During a trip to California, I came across a honey jar from the Bee Cause Project and became very interested in their programs and observational beehives. Learning about the educational programs about bees across hundreds of schools prompted me to bring the same opportunities and awareness to schools and communities in Puerto Rico. This led me to create the first student-led initiative on the island to save bees, known today as Be a Bee.
We launched our initiative on March 3, 2018.
Tammy Enright from the Bee Cause Project
"The Bee Cause Project would like to thank Isabelle Ramseyer and the students of Saint John’s School for their initiative and enthusiasm to support the installation of an indoor observation honey beehive in Puerto Rico. We also want to recognize the efforts of local beekeepers, school administrators, parents and students who have all worked together to bring the Be a Bee initiative to fruition. We are grateful to do our part rebuilding the bee population in Puerto Rico, educating the public on the importance of bees, and dispelling harmful myths about bees. We hope the benefits obtained from this first observatory honey bee learning hive in Saint John’s School will inspire other schools in the area to adopt a beehive and join the movement”.
Saint John's School Principal David Sanabria
"Born out of the curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit of Isabelle Ramseyer and her desire to make a difference in her community in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Be a Bee has grown into a dynamic crusade that has forever impacted Saint John’s School and other schools. It is a movement that continues to evolve, to educate, to create awareness, and will continue to have enduring effects in an entire generation and how they will impact their environment and the world of the future".
Professor Bert Rivera-Marchand
"They say there are no coincidences… a couple of years ago, I casually visited a Para la Naturaleza fair. As I was passing by an exhibition, I heard a question about bees that I helped answer. That was when I met the Be a Bee group. With the goal of sharing my knowledge of honeybees with these students, teachers, and parents, I offered the first of many talks, which later turned into a relationship full of mentoring and advice to the students united with Be a Bee. It began with the idea of educating them about bees, but I also became educated. I learned how a group of such motivated, dedicated, and passionate students could bring positive change to the bees and the planet. I am proud to be a part of Be a Bee and I feel very optimistic towards the future".