9-year-old beekeeper from Eddington displays guts, persistence, and curiosity

Elizabeth Downs has found a calling as part of Maine’s beekeeping community.
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 8:35 PM EDT
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EDDINGTON, Maine (WABI) - A young girl in Eddington has been the buzz of the beekeeping community in the state for the last three years.

”I like the buzz they make. It’s so calming.”

“She showed no fear, just got right in there and really enjoyed it,” said Rachel Downs, Elizabeth’s Mother.

Elizabeth Downs was just six years old when her mother brought her to see a beehive.

”Our friend who helped us get into gardening, his neighbor had a hive, and I figured it would be something she would be interested in,” said Rachel Downs.

”Sure, I’ll check it out,” said Elizabeth.

”She wore an adult suit her first time,” said Rachel. “It was very big for her.”

”Once I got into it, I really liked it.”

Three years later, she’s in charge of caring for five hives out on their lawn.

”We had six, but I had to combine two because one wasn’t doing so well,” said Elizabeth.

”I’m the muscles, she’s the brains, so I help her lift things,” said Rachel. “I’ve learned a lot from her, and when she wants to try something new, we try it.”

Elizabeth has advocated for legislation restricting the use of chemicals that harm bees and even helped create a new board position for the Penobscot County Beekeepers Association.

”She’s now the youth outreach coordinator, so she helps educate youth and get into the schools,” said Rachel.

”When you get one pound of honey, a LOT of bees had to make that one pound,” said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth keeps some of the honey, but most gets sold. She uses the money to improve her beekeeping operation, and she also donates to charity.

”The church needed another roof because it was leaking, so I donated some money for that.”

”Everybody wants to see her succeed, so it’s been amazing.”

According to her mother, Elizabeth wants to become the State Apiarist when she grows up.

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