Donor Spotlight: Cheryl McEwen

What inspired your interest in honey bees?

Picture of a donor: Cheryl McEwen

[Excerpt from a phone call with the HBRC]

“I think like most people, I was just another person that had read stories and knew there was a problem, but I didn’t understand the extent of it. By going and meeting with the Honey Bee Research Centre and learning about the contemporary and historical issues bees face ensured me that the HBRC is a valuable resource for not just Canada, but internationally. I think people would love to know more about [the HBRC] and understand why they are so important. On top of it all, you can just buy their honey and enjoy it. It seems to me a big secret that nobody knows about and we should be very proud of the work they do at the HBRC”.

How did you first learn about or become involved with the HBRC?

A friend of mine notified me that she was making a donation to the HBRC and that she was hosting an event to showcase their research. I was very excited to attend and learn all about it. Sadly, I had a conflict with a committee [meeting] I had made for that date and was not able to attend. About two months later, I was scheduled at a conference in Elora and reached out to her to see if it would be possible for me to visit the HBRC to learn about their work and understand why she has become involved. She set up a meeting for me in the fall of 2019. I invited a few other people from the conference to join me. We met with Paul Kelly and we were all blown away by the deep history in research they have built over the last century! We learned about many of the hazards facing pollinators and felt so proud that this world leading research was happening right here in our own backyard! It was quite an eye opener for all of us. We also got to see some hives and how they make honey. The entire experience was very special. We all vowed to share what we learned with others and to help support the HBRC. By the way, we all bought honey and other products as well that day and loved the quality of what we bought.

What moved you to give to the HBRC?

I really want to help the HBRC become known for the important work they do. It seemed to me it was a greatly kept secret! I felt the best way I could help them was to use the power of the internet to tell their story to the world. The knowledge they have about honey bees has application to bees and pollinators all over the world. In addition, the healing powers of honey and bee propolis is something people need to know about. The research connection at U of G and the HBRC is an important collaboration! They have used honey for wound healing for years at U of G all supplied by the HBRC. This is so important: documenting the healing power of honey with its antibacterial properties as an essential medical therapy. I’ve started using honey on my skin for the health benefits. I just mix some into my moisturizer. I could go on and on, but the good work at the HBRC needs to be showcased to all Ontarians and beyond. We have a real gem at the HBRC and if everyone who reads this article would share it with 10 friends, we would start to get the word out and people will be very happy to know about how the HBRC is helping to protect our pollinators. Let’s face it, honey bees do a great deal the pollinating of our fruit crops and other food staples. We need them! We need to protect them! We need the HBRC to continue to do the work to protect our pollinators and show the world how to stop the harm!

Are there any other thoughts that you would like to share about honey bees or the HBRC?

I can tell you I’ve learned a lot since that visit in 2019! Our food supply chain depends on the well being of our honey bees and pollinators. We have to support this work to avoid a crisis in food supply. Our honey bees are under attack, viruses, neurotoxins, mites that attack them, and much more. The HBRC is taking on this challenge to protect our honey bees and keep them thriving. We will all benefit from that! Please tell as many people as you can about the good work happening at the HBRC. Thank you!

Thank you, Cheryl, for your generosity and dedication to the HBRC.

If you care about our mission and want to help us help bees, consider giving a gift by way of the link below. Your donation will help us keep our operations going and growing while we continue to do vital research and provide education about honey bees.

Donate here > https://alumni.uoguelph.ca/honeybee

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