Story and photos by 1st Lt. Emily Hill, 5-4 ADAR Public Affairs
ANSBACH, Germany (June 15, 2020) – The Environmental Education Center (EEC) on Urlas Kaserne and the U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach beekeeping program has grown five fold over the past year, with the addition of one dedicated and enthusiastic member.
Sgt. Daniel Taylor, liaison sergeant with 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (ADAR), has been instrumental in the growth and development of the USAG Ansbach beekeeping program.
Taylor arrived to Germany in October 2018, and wanted to find an outdoor hobby. He immediately ruled out hunting because of the cost and time required to obtain a license.
Taylor knew about the beekeeping program, but wasn’t sure who to get in touch with, so he decided to use his balcony apartment for beekeeping. However, after inquiring about the housing policy in April 2019, his name was brought to the attention of Daniel Woernlein, Environmental Management Division.
Woernlein contacted Taylor and it wasn’t long after that he decided to join the program, and then chose to buy a hive, with about 40,000 bees to care for at the EEC.
Woernlein said that Taylor had a “hands-on mentality and was excited about trying new beekeeping methods and advanced skills. He needed no additional encouragement or guidance, he just started with the right things to do.”
At the time, the entire beekeeping program had only three hives, all maintained by the garrison. With no previous knowledge or experience caring for bees, Taylor spent his free time researching how to start a hive, care for the bees, create honeycomb with melted beeswax and everything else you might need to know in order to keep 40,000 bees happy, healthy and honey-producing.
Just over a year after Taylor began beekeeping, there are now 21 hives at the EEC, six owned by USAG Ansbach, twelve owned by Taylor and three owned by other members of the program.
“Sgt. Taylor brought the bee program to the next level, especially with his enthusiasm, knowledge and motivation. He is encouraging others to start bee keeping. He always educates and explains the wonderful world of bees to passers-by and basically everyone who is interested” said Woernlein.
Taylor has utilized the beekeeping program to mentor other service members and get more of the community involved in this peaceful and environmentally friendly hobby.
“I have used the garrison’s beekeeping program to build relationships with local nationals, make ties with families in the community and teach school children about the environment,” he said.
On any given well-weathered day, you can find Taylor caring for his bees at the EEC. He is always eager to welcome guests passing by to try the honey and teach them a little something about beekeeping. His efforts have inspired three service members from his own battalion to participate, all of which now have their own hives. Spc. Tyler Russell, the 5-4 ADAR commander’s driver, said “Sgt. Taylor’s abundance of knowledge and pure enthusiasm for our friendly pollinators inspired me to join the program. He is the subject matter expert on bees and I love learning from him.”
Taylor has taken advantage of Soldier participation by “mentoring Soldiers in ways to better their personal lives and military careers while we are out caring for the hives.”