A field of flowers in Carlisle isn’t being grown for its beauty. It’s a pollinator garden and is now being used for bigger research.

“This research is interesting because it’s largely a partnership between beekeepers and researchers,” said Maggie Douglas, a pollination researcher and professor of environmental science.

Four colleges across the country recently received millions in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

“They provided us funding to help understand the causes of pollinator decline and some things that we can do to reverse those declines,” said Douglas. 

The study involves studying bees and other pollinators across the country, including Dickinson’s own hive. 

“It is fairly unique. We have to have a special permit because these are learning hives, educational hives, that allows us to have them on campus,” said Cody Rosenbarker, a beekeeping instructor. 

Dickinson’s bees are just one part of the study, but they are shining light on a serious issue: the decline of pollinators. 

“Past research suggests that the major things causing those declines are a lack of flowers, exposure to pesticides, and pests and diseases,” said Douglas. 

Douglas and her team of student researchers hope to create an app by the end of their three- year study. The goal is to tailor recommendations for beekeepers to create and maintain healthy hives. 

“I never dreamed that I would have an experience to participate in a research project that is a real-world kind of research project in just my first year of college,” said Sara Soba, a research assistant. 

For more information on Dickinson College’s hive, click here.