High fives to Morgan Freeman for transforming his ranch into a 124-acre honeybee sanctuary.

Morgan Freeman has donated his land to honeybees to help stave off a looming disaster.

America's favorite narrator is hoping to tell a new story for the world's waning honeybee population by giving them his 124 acres of land to live on. The 81-year-old actor took up beekeeping as a hobby in 2014 and converted his Mississippi ranch into a bee sanctuary. He brought in 26 bee hives from Arkansas and planted acre upon acre of bee-attracting vegetation including magnolia trees, lavender, and clover.

He fed the bees sugar water himself as they adjusted to their new home, and has said that he's never been stung despite not wearing a protective suit or hat. Freeman doesn't harvest the bees' honey or disrupt their hives; his goal is to help repopulate the dying honeybee population.


Freeman says his motivation for building a bee sanctuary is to help rebuild "the foundation of the growth of the planet."

In a 2016 interview on Larry King Live, Freeman explained why he decided to transform his ranch into a home for honeybees.

"There has been a frightening loss in bee colonies, particularly in this country," he told King. "To such an extent that scientists are now saying 'This is dangerous.'"

In 2014, shortly after he moved the hives to his ranch, Freeman chatted about his beekeeping hobby with Jimmy Fallon, "There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet," he said. "We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation..."

Humans rely on honeybees and other insects to pollinate our crops. If pollinators die off, our food supply will suffer. The chain reaction of losing the bee population could be devastating for life as we know it.

Why are the bees dying? There are multiple answers, and many point to human disruption.

Last year, according a survey conducted by Auburn University and University of Maryland, U.S. beekeepers said that 40 percent of their honeybee colonies had died off in the previous year—a 33% increase from the year prior. The reasons for the die off are multifaceted.

Colony Collapse Disorder has been affecting certain bee species for the past decade or so. Scientists have come up with multiple possible causes, including environmental stressors, insecticides, lack of genetic diversity in colonies, and mites that infest colonies.

Bees may also be a victim of climate change, according to the researchers who conducted the survey. Geoffrey Williams, assistant professor at Auburn, told Bloomberg, "Changes in climate and weather affect food and forage for bees. It’s pretty obvious that if you have bees already on the edge and you have a radical, quick weather shift, they aren’t going to do as well."

Pesticides are also to blame. Neonicotinoid pesticides, which are commonly used in agricultural areas, kill bees and inhibit their ability to reproduce. Scientists say these pesticides kill bee populations slowly, and are particularly harmful to queen bees, which affects bee populations over time.

Kudos to Freeman for creating healthy home for honeybees. Environmental responsibility belongs to all of us, and each act to protect and preserve our planet makes a difference.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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