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posted: 8/10/2012 12:44 PM

OK, you can make honey, but no buzzing the field

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  • Jets take off and land as more than one million bees do their job at O'Hare.

    Jets take off and land as more than one million bees do their job at O'Hare.
    Chicago Department of Aviation

  • Bee keepers harvest honey at the apiary at O'Hare

    Bee keepers harvest honey at the apiary at O'Hare
    Chicago Department of Aviation

Daily Herald report

O'Hare International Airport recently receive an industry environmental award for its unique and innovative airport beehive farm.

O'Hare will receive an Environmental Achievement Award from Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA) in the Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award Category.

O'Hare installed the nation's first on-airport beehive farm in 2011 on land that was previously undeveloped. The apiary program advances people, planet and profit holistically, and is the result of teamwork between the Chicago Department of Aviation, the city of Chicago, a non-profit community organization called the North Lawndale Employment Network, and a related company that sells the honey products, Sweet Beginnings.

The beehives are tended by ex-offenders, who get a second chance by learning job training skills through collecting and processing honey; and producing and packaging products including candles, soaps and lotions.

The apiary produced 1,200 pounds of honey in 2011 and expanded to 50 beehives from 28 beehives this year. With more than one million bees, the apiary allows the CDA to do its part to help replenish bee populations, which are in danger of dwindling throughout the world.

"The O'Hare apiary has been a tremendous success and is achieving the triple bottom line by being economically viable, socially responsible, and environmentally sound," said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. "On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I thank ACI-NA for recognizing this project for the positive impact it is having on the environment as well as people's lives."

O'Hare is one of four airports to be honored by ACI-NA - JFK International Airport, Portland International Jetport and Northeast Florida Regional Airport also received environmental awards. All four airports will be recognized at ACI-NA and ACI World's Annual Conference in Calgary, Alberta on September 12, 2012.

Since being established in 1997, the ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards contest has generated immense interest throughout the industry and has catalyzed numerous environmental programs at airports.

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