Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat
Bee City USA, Clarkson, Kentucky officially became a reality in March of 2015. The designation came while one of the largest employers in Clarkson, the Kelley Beekeeping Company, was preparing to undertake an extensive expansion project. Kelley Beekeeping is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of beekeeping supplies and has called Clarkson home since 1952. It was founded in Louisiana in 1924.
Since Clarkson became a certified Bee City USA, the Kelley Beekeeping Company has opened its new 82,000 square foot facility. In front of their new building is a small pollinator garden containing wildflowers and several beehives.
Clarkson also celebrates Pollinator Week during our annual HoneyFest, which is the last weekend in September. The festival, which will celebrate 24 years in 2018, was designed as the “Official State Honey Festival” by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2006. The Honeyfest celebrates Clarkson’s ties to the honey industry and brings awareness to the importance of bees to our economy.
In the fall 2017 The City began a partnership with the county tourism commission and the Public Trails Association of Grayson County to help revitalize our nature trail at Clarkson City Park. Last October we kicked off our inaugural Halloween “Treats on the Trail” event, inviting local businesses to set up booths along the trail and hand out candy and other treats to trick-or-treaters. The event is help bring more awareness to the approximately one mile trail and encouraging the public to use the trail on a regular basis and enjoy the beauty of nature. Last year’s “Treats on the Trail” was a huge success and we are already planning for this year’s event. Once the revitalization of the nature trail is complete, the native plants and flowers growing there be preserved and possibly labeled with identification plaques for those using the trail to learn about the different types of plants and flowers growing there.
Policies & Practices
Bee City USA, Clarkson is under the direction of the Clarkson City Commission. The Commission consist of the Mayor and four City Commissioners. The City Clerk-Treasurer is the public liaison for the City Commission. Items to related to the Bee City USA are included on the meeting agendas with other City business to be discussed.
Regular meetings of the City Commission are held monthly at the Clarkson City Hall & Community Center are set by City ordinance. Meeting are open to the public and are announced in advance in the local newspapers and on the City’s Facebook page.
Education & Outreach
The Clarkson Honeyfest is held each year during the last weekend in September. The festival, which has been designated as the “Official State Honey Festival” by the Kentucky General Assembly, recognizes the City’s ties to the beekeeping industry. The festival attracts several thousands of tourists to our town of less than 1,000. Events include a cooking contest, in which all the entries must include honey as one of the ingredients, and several local and regional vendors sell honey. During the 2016 Honeyfest, one of the members of the Honeyfest planning committee, who is a retired long-time Kelley Beekeeping employee, held a class during the Honeyfest teaching children about the bees and how they function in the hive to make honey.
Clarkson celebrates Pollinator Week each year during the Honeyfest (the last week of September).
The City has also partnered with the county Extension Office to host a class at our community center teaching people how vital honey is to our economy and ecosystem. Included in the class were the various uses of honey.
The Kelley Beekeeping Company regularly sponsors beekeeping classes for the community and each holds a “Field Day,” in which hundreds of beekeepers and hobbyists attend for a day of demonstrations and classes.
In the fall of 2017, the City partnered with the county tourism commission and local Public Trails Association to help revitalize the nature trail at Clarkson City Park. Work on the trail will continue this spring and summer and, when finished, will result in the preservation of native grasses and wildflowers. We hosted an inaugural “Treats on the Trail” event last fall to help bring awareness to the trail. The event was a huge success, and we are already planning for this year’s event.
For the past three years we have been in successful is asking the Governor to declare September of each year “Honey Month” in Kentucky. The proclamation explains the importance of bees and honey and draws attention to the Honeyfest. In Spring 2017, the Kentucky Hose and Senate each passed resolutions recognizing Clarkson as the “Honey Bee Capitol of Kentucky.” Also, due in part to our ties to the beekeeping industry, we have tried branding ourselves as the “Sweetest Little City in Kentucky” on our City website.
Local Website & Contact Information
Bee City USA, Clarkson does not have a website. However, the Clarkson’s partnership with Bee City USA is mentioned on our City website: http://visitclarkson.com/city-partnerships/
We also have a link to the Bee City USA website on the Community Links page of our City website.
Bee City USA, Clarkson Committee:
- Mayor Bonnie Henderson
City Commissioners Joyce Bell, Debbie Myers, Ed Schott, Bob Vincent
- Scotty Gore, City Clerk-Treasurer