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.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."