The bees have found a home in the Village of Ossining, NY. The Village Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday, May 21 to override the long standing ordinance against beekeeping in Ossining. Through a concerted effort on the part of many residents, gardeners, friends and neighbors, beekeepers as well as trustees and their counsel, consensus was finally reached. A vote in support of bees and beekeeping passed unanimously.

The Dominican Sisters of Hope, centered at Mariandale in Ossining, have long been proponents of the bees. The Sisters have spoken at public hearings, written and submitted our support of the bees to the trustees, hosted the Croton Bee Keepers and the Hudson Valley Natural Bee Keepers meetings at the Center on the north end of the Village of Ossining, and even screened a Bee film for the mayor and trustees.

“I am very excited and extremely grateful that the Village Trustees voted for the bees’ sake tonight,” said Sister Bette Ann Jaster.

Sister Nancy Erts, OP, Bette Ann Jaster, OP, and Carlos Santiago, who works at Mariandale, were present for the approval of the new legislation on Wednesday.

“I am very excited and extremely grateful that the Village Trustees voted for the bees’ sake tonight,” said Sister Bette Ann Jaster. “We are planting for the pollinators here at Mariandale and hope to attract monarch butterflies as well as bees.”

“We are interested in restoring natural habitats on our campus, which add to the diversity, abundance, and productivity of the land.”

Sister Bette Ann continued, “We plan to tend our own bees as part of creating a sustainable and hospitable environment. It’s wonderful to partner with the Village board and their amazing staff in this transformation.”

This new legislation, approved last night sets in place protection from liability for the village and safe standards and protection for the bees. Simply stated, the law is entitled “Revisions to Chapter 75 ‘Animals’ to Require Apiary Registration”. Parameters are set that include: Registration of the hive; requirement for training before starting a hive insuring best practices and on-going support; required distances from local sidewalks, etc. These and other regulations will be available from The Village Clerks office and the Village website.

Full coverage of this story is available at Fios and News12 have video coverage. The Sisters are also featured on Page 5 of The Examiner News.

The Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit ecumenical retreat center and a sponsored ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Hope located in Ossining, New York on the Hudson River. For more information about the Center, facilities, and programs, visit or call 914-941-4455.

Photo credit: Flickr: mbeo