USF Continues Environmental Commitment

May. 10, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

The University of St. Francis (USF) plans to continue its commitment to the environment by installing a bee hive on campus and continuing to host the BlueStem Earth Festival in May.

In late April of 2017 a new honey bee hive was installed on the main campus. According to Dr. Brian Moskalik, assistant professor of biology, the bees and their hive will be utilized for projects in all areas of the natural sciences. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own projects and use the scientific method to answer questions with a controlled study group.

“The campus will also benefit by having important pollinators on their property and the ability to act as stewards for the persistence and survival of honey bees,” explains Moskalik. “There has been a series of issues facing honey bees and their populations were and continue to be in decline.”

This is the second hive installed in recent years. The first came to campus in 2014 and lasted for two years before the bees “swarmed away” or established their hive elsewhere after the queen left the hive. In order to prevent this from happening again, USF employee and beekeeper Gina Stevens will maintain the new hive and process the honey produced by the hive.

In addition to the bee hive, USF has made an additional commitment to plant more bee- and hummingbird-friendly native flowers around the main and St. Clare campuses. These native plants will have a meaningful impact on their surroundings by providing food and shelter resources to native birds and insect populations, therefore supporting our local ecosystems. Native plant species also require less water and maintenance because they are used to the region’s rainfall and weather patterns.

USF also welcomes the fourth annual BlueStem Earth Festival to campus on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the university’s main campus in Joliet. The festival will feature over 80 eco-conscious exhibits and vendors, earth-friendly activities, live demonstrations, local food and children’s activities. New this year is BlueStem University; a series of no-cost courses available to attendees. The courses are offered from five different schools (food, wellness, water, energy and waste) and offer incentives and knowledge to empower individuals to live a healthier and more sustainable life style. This fun and interactive festival is free to attend and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate and their associates. More information can be found at

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,900 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.