Why did you adopt? Safeguarding the future for my child
Louise and Dean Lederle welcomed a son, Connor, in January 2020. To honour his first birthday last year, they adopted a Honeybee Heroes hive—as a small way to help keep the environment healthy for Connor to enjoy in the years to come.
2020 was a big year for the Lederles. Not only was it the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but they also had a brand-new addition to their family: a baby boy named Connor, born just one month before South Africa—and the world—went into lockdown. And to top it all off, they moved into their new home in Sea Point, which they had renovated throughout Louise’s pregnancy.
So when Christmas rolled around, the family wanted someplace a bit quieter for their holiday with Louise’s parents, compared to their usual Hermanus getaway. They booked a place to stay in Stanford, then reached out to their friend Chris Oosthuizen, who they heard had started up a honeybee sanctuary nearby. Chris recommended that they come spend the day on Willowdale Farm, just 10 minutes away from Stanford’s town centre—an opportunity they jumped on.
“My husband is absolutely animal crazy,” Louise says. “He loves the bush, he’s into wildlife photography and drawing, and he set up a little bee hotel at home. Connor is already fascinated with animals, too, so it was a great idea.” And since her own parents hadn’t been able to leave the house often during the pandemic—“because at that stage we were all still scared to be going out to the shops and restaurants,” Louise says—getting out into nature felt like the perfect way to spend a day.
A day on the farm
According to Louise, Chris organised an “amazing” experience for the family, including opening up the pub on the farm for lunch. “It still makes me teary thinking about it,” Louise says, “but the first thing my dad did when we arrived was sit down at the bar and get himself a beer. I’ve never seen someone so happy in my life because he literally hadn’t been to a bar in almost a year.”
After lunch, they toured the farm on Honeybee Heroes’ open-top Land Rover. Louise says the experience was even better than she had hoped. “Dean and I were blown away by how much they had done on the farm. Chris told us all about the project and it was so interesting and inspiring to see what someone had done with all that extra time during the pandemic. After that experience, we knew we had to adopt a hive,” Louise says.
So just one month later, in honour of Connor’s first birthday, the family went back to Willowdale Farm and adopted a “Connor-box”: a new honeybee hive personalised with Connor’s name. They even dipped the bottom of his feet in ink and stamped the hive with his tiny footprints.
Connor loved every second of being on the farm. “He loved the grass and being out in the open. He loved the empty hives Chris let him play with, pulling out the frames and looking at them. He thought it was the best thing ever,” his mom says.
For Louise and Dean, it felt important to make a small contribution to the environment, because they can already tell that Connor is going to love being outdoors in nature as he grows up. “There are so many messages out there about how bad our environment is, and obviously we’ve got to do something for future generations, but often it’s hard as an individual to know what to do,” Louise explains. “But this is something we could do.”
Since then, the Lederles have been challenging their friends and everyone they know to get a hive for their kids. “These are things we should be doing to help save our world for our children,” Louise says.
A Pooh Bear in the family
In the Lederle household, honey is a hot commodity. “I’ve got a Poor Bear in my house,” Louise jokes. “My husband is besotted with honey. So we always have honey in the house.” The family has a Saturday tradition of making flapjacks, which they drench in honey and butter. They love tasting the various flavours that come from Willowdale Farm’s diverse flora.
But it’s not just the honey that’s enjoyed in their house—it’s all things bees. When they adopted their hive, they opted for the Queen Bee adoption box, including beeswax candles, bath salts, soaps and more. “It was beautifully done,” Louise says, “And we used every single thing in it.”
Louise and Dean are hoping to head back to Stanford soon to do a full beekeeping experience, including kitting up in beekeeper suits, and they hope that as Connor grows older, he’ll go visit his hive to check on his bees. In the meantime, the new family of three has enjoyed the slower paced life brought on by the pandemic. Dean owns a creative agency, and Louise was previously a singer in her own band, but temporarily stepped away from music while venues were closed to spend more time with Connor.
Adopting a beehive is a unique gift for any occasion, whether it’s to celebrate an anniversary, honour a late loved one, to contribute to a sustainable future, or to surprise a friend. Whether you’re sponsoring a hive on behalf of a loved one or adopting one for yourself, your hive will keep a bee colony safe for years to come, making it a gift that keeps on giving. Not to mention the 6 bottles of raw honey that every sponsor receives as thanks from our resident bees!