What's The Buzz About Wendy Leonard
Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Have you ever wondered what a professional who works for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department does when she isn’t taking care of one of San Antonio’s natural spaces?
Wendy Leonard, the supervisor for Phil Hardberger Park, is also a beekeeper.
Leonard is one of the professionals who takes care of one of San Antonio’s natural spaces. She teaches the public about the importance of pollinators such as butterflies, wasps, and honeybees to our environment.
She started her journey in beekeeping with a class from the Bexar County AgriLife Extension Service called Basic Beekeeping 101. She encouraged anyone who might want to become a beekeeper to take a class.
She also talked about why honeybees are important in areas like San Antonio.
“We have a lot of food that we need to get pollinated,” Leonard said. “So, there’s a huge demand for pollinators to help bring us food sources, everything from almonds to vegetables to a lot of different fruits.”
Leonard talked about challenges but also the bounty urban areas offer to bees. Not only honeybees, but also native bees and other pollinators.
“You have to look at an urban bee’s life and a rural bee’s life and urban bees even though they have a lot of pollution to deal with there’s a lot of food in urban environments,” she said.
“A lot of the roof gardens that people are doing, community gardens people are doing, backyard gardening that people are doing. There’s a lot of food in the urban environment and a lot of need for those urban bees there as well,” Leonard added.
The honeybees aren’t native to San Antonio. They were brought here from Europe but they’re still an important part of the ecosystem. They’re important but not the only pollinators helping to make our lives more fruitful.
“We really need the European honeybees because they help get the high demand of food that we have. We have a lot of native bees that are great pollinators too. If you have squash plants in the springtime you can see you know all the different native pollinators that come to your squash plants to help bring you squash,” Leonard said.
“We have a couple different species in this area of bumble bees. A couple different species of carpenter bees. We have everything from one of my favorites, that actually eat your sweat and use it the minerals and amino acids, for their purposes. Even some of our wasps are pollinators as well and I’m not a fan of wasps but they do a good job in pollinating,” she added.
If you’re interested in learning more about beekeeping you can take a class from Bexar County AgriLife Extension. You can also just enjoy the pollinators in your garden, in a local park or anywhere you find them in nature.