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Last winter, associates at our Ozarka-Hawkins facility in Texas encountered a problem. Swarms of bees were surrounding the loading docks, making it difficult to get their work done and jeopardizing their safety. 

The factory’s quality manager, Cheryl Conaway, had to find a way to keep associates safe, but she also wanted to protect the bees – recently declared endangered and an important part of the natural environment. In considering how to save the bees, Cheryl got creative. She called the local high school to see if students in the Future Farmers of America program could help.

Cheryl thought they might be able to take advantage of the more than 2,000 acres of untouched, natural land surrounding Nestlé Waters’ watershed to harvest bees. She learned she was right. As Cheryl explained, “It turns out what’s good for water is great for the bees as well.” 

And with that, four enterprising girls at a high school in rural Texas took on the challenge. While they knew nothing about bees, they learned a lot about them quickly. With help from their teacher, and a local apiary business owner, they constructed bee boxes, maintained hives and harvested 50 pounds of honey last spring alone – providing revenue to fund the growing program. They call their honey, 4G, for 4 girls – an acknowledgement to just how powerful four young girls can be – and a tribute to the bees, especially the female ones whom they learned have a very important role in the colony. Thanks to their hard work and initiative, these girls saved the bees and built a business from the ground up – all while solving a bee problem at our facility.

Nestlé Waters North America provided a home for the beehives on our land and donated funds for supplies to build the bee frames and other gear and equipment. As a sign of our continued support, we awarded each of the four student program founders with $5,000 educational scholarships and gave the girls’ high school teacher a $10,000 grant to support the beekeeping program.

We’re committed to caring for our environment, supporting the communities where we operate and building the next generation of environmental stewards. And thanks to associates like Cheryl, who took initiative and found a way to turn a sticky situation with bees into something sweet, we’re bringing these commitments to life at our facilities each day.


Watch a clip about this story on NBC’s TODAY Show.