Oakton invites beekeepers to join the community apiary

While Oakton College provides the space, the beekeepers own and manage the hives and bees.

Des Plaines, Ill. (Jan. 26, 2023) – Village of Skokie residents, Oakton College students, local beekeepers and community organizations are invited to host beehives at the new apiary on Oakton College’s Skokie campus. The initiative — in partnership with the Village of Skokie — aligns with Oakton’s commitment to sustainability by supporting the declining honeybee population and educating community members and students about the importance of pollinators.

The Village of Skokie proposed the apiary after receiving requests from community members for a community beekeeping space. Though the Village’s ordinance permits home beekeeping, there are restrictions for individuals who live in apartments or close proximity to neighbors. The apiary provides a communal beekeeping location for Skokie residents who cannot use their own property for this purpose.

Oakton College was selected as a prime location for the apiary due to the college’s commitment to sustainability, convenient and accessible location and mission of providing quality education to the communities its serves. Through a generous grant from the Oakton Educational Foundation, the community apiary was built and located at the far end of the Skokie campus Mulford parking lot.

“After several years of planning, it will be amazing to observe honey bees pollinating flowers and gardens and producing delicious honey. The Village’s goal is to grow the community apiary further and invites Skokie residents and organizations to consider installing their own beehives at the community apiary,” said Skokie Health and Human Services Director Mike Charley.

Interested beekeepers are required to submit the Village Of Skokie & Oakton College Project Community Apiary Permit Application and the following items to the Environmental Health Division at the Skokie Health & Human Services Department:

  • Permit fee (initial $125; renewal $50)
  • Proof of completion of an introductory beekeeping class
  • Proof of registering the beehives with the Illinois Department of Agriculture
  • Proof of required insurance
First-time and renewal applications must be submitted by March 1. The total number of hives allowed at Oakton is capped at 20. The hives and bees are owned and managed by individual beekeepers from the community or representatives of community organizations.

For questions about the apiary at Oakton, please contact Charmaine John, Oakton’s sustainability specialist (greenteam@oakton.edu).