"I have not ever used the beekeeping hat with my bees," he said.
Morgan Freeman is more than just the legendary actor or the man with the glorious voice, the 83-year-old is also an activist who fights for causes he firmly believes in. Over the years he's used his platform to raise awareness on environmental issues as well as the injustices faced by the African-American community. So, when Freeman heard that the bee population was dwindling rapidly in recent decades, he felt he should step up and do something productive. Being the avid animal lover that he is, the octogenarian didn't think twice before converting his 124-acre Mississippi ranch into a giant bee sanctuary. In doing so, he added another title to his mantle --as the most famous beekeeper in the world.
Freeman started beekeeping as a hobby but it soon became his pet project. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon in 2014, Freeman revealed his interest and said he stepped into it to help conserve the vast bee population. He explained that he had imported over 26 hives of bees from neighboring Arkansas and fed them sugar water on a regular basis. His great efforts are greatly appreciated by the bees, too, as he has never been stung despite never wearing a protective suit when tending to them. "I have not ever used the beekeeping hat with my bees. They haven’t stung me yet, as right now I am not trying to harvest honey or anything, but I just feed them…I also think that they understand, ‘Hey, don’t bother this guy, he’s got sugar water here."
Talking about what got him into full-time bee-keeping and what his long-term goals are, Freeman said: "There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation…I have a lot of flowering things, and I have a gardener too. As she takes care of the bees too, all she does is figure out, ‘OK, what would they like to have?’, so we have got acres and acres of clover, and we have some planting stuff like lavender, I have got like, maybe 140 magnolia trees, big blossoms." By ensuring their livelihood, The Shawshank Redemption actor is saving a few billion human lives as bees and other insects are known to pollinate nearly 84% of all the plants that generate the food we consume. Basically, bees do the work that would cost at least $365 billion for humans to do on a yearly basis. But that isn't their only contribution to the planet.
Morgan Freeman turned his 124-acre Mississippi ranch into a sanctuary for wild bees to help conserve and grow their population.— UberFacts (@UberFacts) July 6, 2020
In her column with The Guardian, Alison Alexander, author of 'Keeping Bees and Making Honey' writes "...beyond their monetary value for maintaining our fragile food supply, bees also make an invaluable contribution to ecosystems around the world. Seeds, fruits, and berries eaten by birds and small mammals are all from plants that are pollinated by bees, making them guardians of the food chain and the biodiversity of our species." Jodi Monelle, the founder and CEO of LIVEKINDLY gave few reasons behind the decreasing number of bees. "Commonly used in crop cultivation and throughout the agriculture industry in general, chemical sprays and pesticides have been found to be partially responsible for the death and impairment of bees," she wrote.
I can’t love this man more than I do at this news.— ☘️Feisty Redhead☘️ 😷🇺🇸🐘🧹 (@colleen_benn) July 7, 2019
Morgan Freeman Converted His 124-Acre Ranch Into A Giant Honeybee Sanctuary To Save The Bees https://t.co/WcbgU7qocS
Monelle claims there are several ways we can contribute to saving the bees from extinction. Planting bee gardens, choosing organic plants and fruits, or growing our own food will do the trick. Freeman is already doing plenty himself and there's no way to quantify the impact he's had on the bee population. But a key lesson here is to take motivation from the actor's cause and contribute ourselves even if we think it is small and insignificant.