SALT LAKE CITY — Tucked in a corner of the Salt Palace Convention Center grounds, behind a Japanese garden, a series of beehives have been installed.
The gentle buzzing of honeybees flying in and out of their hives is a serene contrast to the busy street nearby.
"We think it’s very fitting for the state of Utah, as it is the Beehive State," said Nick Zaccheo, the Salt Palace Convention Center's Zero Waste Coordinator.
The bees were installed by convention center staffers as part of an effort to expand the facility's environmental sustainability.
"The bees represent a need for more green space which is a pledge for us towards our industry and our staff," Zaccheo said.
They installed several hives about a year-and-a-half ago and they are maintained by a beekeeper that Salt Lake County employs.
"One of the pledges is green space, which is bringing the natural world to the urban world a little bit, to the business world," Chance Thompson, the Salt Palace's manager of sustainability, said in a recent interview with FOX 13.
Thompson said the Salt Palace is also doing its part to help declining bee populations. Globally, bee populations are decreasing and that will have an impact.
"This is a really big problem because humans rely on over one-third of our food supply comes from bees. What we’re hoping to do is show the importance of bees in our natural world," Thompson said.
On the Salt Palace grounds, the bees will visit nearby flowers in the Japanese garden. They will also travel up to 40 miles a day in search of food.
"A lot of people in the valley probably have seen a Salt Palace bee buzzing around for sure," Thompson said.
Zaccheo said it was "a fun idea" to install the beehives and staff check on them regularly, gravitating toward the garden as a moment of calm during busy and stressful days. The honey will ultimately be harvested and given to staffers at the convention center and the catering company to use.
The Salt Palace has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, losing all of its conventions and trade shows. Thompson said bees are resilient and he sees the same with the Salt Palace.
"We’re excited as our industry really gets up and moving again after the virus stuff, we’ll be doing a lot of that," he said.