George Mason Univ. project creates bee sanctuary from trash landfill in Fairfax Co.

George Mason University has launched a project that will convert portions of a trash landfill into a bee sanctuary in Lorton, Va., Wednesday, June 7, 2017 (ABC7 photo)

After suiting up as a beekeeper for 30 years, German Perilla knows what it’s like to get stung, “Thousands of times, I don’t really know," says Perilla. But his focus is on beauty, not pain, “If you look at bees as an example of society they are almost perfect. They work to help the society, not to help the individual," says Perilla.

As the Director of the Honey Bee Initiative for George Mason University, Perilla is helping to build a honeybee society at the I-95 landfill in Lorton.

GMU, Fairfax County, and Covanta- the company that treats the waste at the landfill- are creating a honey bee sanctuary. The goal is not to make honey, but for the bees to pollinate a five acre area, leading to a flourishing ecosystem of wildflowers and native grasses.

“I think this could be used as a nationwide model.” Lisa Gring-Pemble with GMU says this project and others like it are needed at a time when the bee population is rapidly decreasing, “Increasing community awareness means people have a greater understanding about how we grow our food, where the food comes from. Because really our human survival depends on bees and their ability to pollinate," says Gring-Pemble.

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