By Jamie Leary

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– The Centennial Airport has successfully moved forward with the first phase of its plan to develop unused land into habitat for bees. It’s all the buzz at the airport south of Denver.

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“We have plenty of land here that we can’t utilize for development due to its proximity to the runway so we thought bees would be kind of a perfect match,” said Gina Conley.

Conley has taken on many projects for the airport, but nothing even close to this.

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Last year, the airport began the massive undertaking of switching all lights to LED to be more environmentally friendly. The bees, Conley thought, would be another great step in the right direction.

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“Someone believed in me and I kept doing research and the hives are out here, so it means that I can do even more!”

Conley says the next phase of development for the land involves more hives.

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“Hopefully a huge apiary full of hives!”

Right now, the hives contain a combined 60,000 bees and Conley contracted one of the most dedicated beekeepers around to get the first colonies off the ground.

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“Well with bees, there’s just a certain Zen or tranquility about it. When you get into the beehive, all of a sudden these bees that would love to sting you, show you the marvels of mother nature,” said Joe Komperda.

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Komperda has been beekeeping for only six years but dedicates just about every spare minute to not only beekeeping himself but educating his community.

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“The bees are kind of a bellwether for us today if the bees are surviving, we know that they’re thriving if they’re thriving we can continue to thrive and every little bit helps.”

For both Komperda and Conley, the airport hives, for now, aren’t about the honey.

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“This is just a small part of actually our sustainability plan here and every year we strive to become more and more sustainable,” said Conley.

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The bees have only been on airport property for about a month but Komperda points out how well they are doing. Especially with the wet spring.

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“You see this bee with the yellow on her back? Pollen baskets. That’s pollen that they’ve brought in from somewhere out here in the fields.”

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It’s a good sign and likely means more hives will be placed on property next year.

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“There’s some old proverb that says you can’t take a journey without taking the first step and I look at this as the first step,” said Komperda.

Jamie Leary


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