The importance of bees in creating and maintaining a flourishing eco-system is well documented.
Plants rely upon the bees for pollination and fewer bees would mean the decline or even disappearance of many plants and those that rely upon them. It is therefore exciting to be able to reveal we now have colonies of bees who call our training centre, 'home'.
Sharing the site with our players, our 60,000 bees have two fantastic Arsenal hives. The introduction of the bees was the brainchild of our grounds and gardening team. You may remember it was that same team who have already taken several new initiatives at the training centre, including the planting of our wild flowers, to reduce our environmental impact and to encourage the increase in bio-diversity. Mick Bath, Stuart Aiston, Jack Perry and Jack Elkins have created the perfect space.
There's no mistaking our bee hives up at the training centre for the new hives, all under the watchful and very enthusiastic eye of Andy Purser, the head groundsperson for the training centre. The bees have created a real buzz of excitement with many staff around the site getting involved whenever their busy schedules allow. Looking after 60,000 bees isn’t a simple task.
Bees need to be given the right conditions to develop their colonies and it has meant that all our staff who look after our insects have had to undergo training with our friends at the St Albans District Beekeepers Associastion (SABKA). Thanks especially to Andy at SABKA who has been a constant source of assistance. The bees are now well established and have started to make honey.
The chef at the training ground is excitedly awaiting his first jar, so we can see what Mikel and his squad think of what our bees have made!
We grow again
We are delighted to confirm that, for a third season, the matchday programme has committed to offset all of the carbon produced in the production of the publication by continuing to plant trees on our Arsenal Forest site in Bore, Kenya.
We will plant another 10,000 of the quick growing, drought and pest-resistant neem variety this season, in conjunction with our partners, CarbonLink, and we are now immensely proud to say our forest now stands at – as of August 1 – 28,275 trees in total.
This equates to an area the size of 17 Emirates pitches covered by the Arsenal Forest! Because our forest is on the equator, the growing conditions are superb and many of the first trees we planted in December 2021 are now close to 3M tall! And it’s not only the club who are planting trees, supporters have jumped at the chance to own or gift ‘a little bit of Arsenal in Africa’ and 6,000 of those trees have been purchased by our fans.
What we particularly love about this project is that it’s far more than just a forest. The project has employed 60 of the poorest local women, propagating the seedlings in a community nursery and now planting the trees. This allows them to pay for the education of their children and set up local businesses. There are also three permanent members of staff employed in security and the overall running of the site.
We have provided kit for two local football teams, the Bore Lions and the Bore Lionesses – who asked for our help last season to set up the first women's football team in that area of Kenya. The club also now sponsor a football tournament, the Neem Cup which features both of our teams playing against other local sides.
Buzzing in Bore
With news of the bee hives proudly standing on Arsenal ground up at the training centre, we can report that the 20 hives in our forest are also close to yielding honey – though this might be a little trickier to offer Mikel Arteta and his squad.
The hives suspended from trees in the Arsenal Forest are the result of a local government/EU initiative, helping to propagate, increase biodiversity and produce honey for sale through local businesses.
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