Educational garden destroyed in hit and run

Corning Bureau

MONTOUR FALLS, N.Y. (WETM) – An open investigation is underway after a car tore through the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) teaching garden in Montour Falls on Sunday.

As he pointed to the tire marks in the ground Roger Ort, the Horticulture Educator at this CCE says that an unknown suspect drove through the garden that took a decade to build. After tearing through the garden destroying almost everything in their path, the suspect then backed up through the garden again and drove away without taking any responsibility.

The garden is used to hold classes to the community. They had over sixty verities of plants, composting demonstrations and rain barrels and their prized joy… their bees.

These bees, or bee larvae, were housed in a mostly wooden hotel that Ort cleverly called the “Pollinator Air Bee N’ Bee” after the popular hotel app. They were a key feature in the garden for pollination. But the hotel was demolished when the vehicle hit it.

“It’s a little sad this native pollinator hotel was sort of our crowning achievement about two years ago,” Ort explained. “It was a project for one of our Cornel interns and all of these little tubes were actually bees, they lay their eggs in there and have a little insect in each pod so that the babies can feed when they come out.”

Ort hopes that some of the tubes might be salvageable, but not much.

“No bees no food is the best line that I like because if plants don’t get pollinated and all this is a lot of fruit, I grow grapes, currants, elderberries, sixty-some species of fruit out here, if they don’t get pollinated by either a naturally occurring insect or a honey bee or bumblebee then I don’t get fruit at all in this garden,” Ort said.

Ort estimates that there were thousands in not tens of thousands of bees that would have emerged from their homes. He hopes to have the hotel and garden re-built by summer but it will take at least a year for the bee hotel to be at full capacity.

We have reached out to the Schuyler Police and are currently waiting for a response.

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