Provided by Prince William County
When Taylor Guilford brought her Girl Scout Gold Star project idea to the Prince William County Public Works Department, people liked what they heard about establishing a beehive at a county historic property, said Kerry Mitchell, the Historic Site Interpreter at Rippon Lodge.
Mitchell said the Historic Preservation Division chose the Rippon Lodge Historic Site because it suited Guilford’s project. There are plenty of flowering plants around the property. “We talked about how great this place would be because of the vegetable garden and the other garden.”
Mitchell said the location for the hive was chosen to keep the bees and people from mixing too much. “We decided to put it … behind the garage, that’s here at Rippon, so that it’s a little bit out of the way of the public, but the public could still see it while they’re walking around. As long as you’re standing back and not poking at the hive, the bees will leave you alone.”
Guilford, 16, put the hive at Rippon in June and the bees readily adapted to their new home, Mitchell said. “The bees seem to be doing really well. They’ve expanded, so she had to add another part to the hive to make it bigger.”
The project could grow further if the bees continue to prosper. “Depending on how well the bees do here at Rippon, we’re thinking that possibly … places like Bristoe Station Battlefield or Brentsville Historic Center, might be other places to add a hive or even adding a second hive here,” said Mitchell.
A Girl Scout Gold Star project must be ongoing to qualify for the award, Guilford said, so adding beehives fits the bill. “One of our requirements is that it has to be sustained even when we’re done with our projects. We can’t do any canned projects. We can’t do something that’s already been done.”
Guilford said she’s been working on the project since she visited George Mason University a couple of years ago, saw some beehives and “immediately fell in love” with bees. To become a bee expert, Guilford worked with her mentor Louise Edsall and the Sweet Virginia Foundation, which runs educational program staffed by beekeepers.
For more information about Rippon Lodge or any of the County’s historic properties, visit www.pwcgov.org/history.