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Bee Happy Lands

Bee Happy Lands



Bee Happy Lands, a project of Turtle Lake Refuge, provides regenerative land stewardship within Southwestern Colorado. Our focus is on creating stabilized, fertile and healthy soil.  We remediate disturbed land by manually harvesting the pioneer plants in moderation, seeding the area with native grasses and beneficial wild flowers, amending the soil with organic compost tea, mulch and compost top dressing and inoculating the soil with mycelium and beneficial microorganisms. We apply soil amendments including a locally made biodynamic ash remedy to balance the pioneer species and encourage next succession species to take hold and increase the diversity of the ecosystem. Ultimately we encourage land stability with our practices while increasing the overall health and fertility of the land.

   When the underground ecosystem is vital and thriving, the wild lands, grasses and flowering plants grow to their full beauty and potential. Locally made compost tea is a liquid fertilizer made from finished garden compost, worm castings, molassas, and seaweed and brewed for 12 - 48 hours. Compost tea is packed full of microbes that help the native and desired plants grow.  Compost tea not only provides food for the plants and grasses, but it also creates a healthy ecosystem and stabilizes the soil, promotes microbial life, aeration, and efficient distribution of minerals and vitamins for the plants and soil microorganisms living underground. 

 The benefits of organic land stewardship practices are infinite.  As a community we can make a difference in improving the quality of life within our native ecosystems by supporting organic land stewardship practices. We aim to lessen our toxic impacts in our global ecosystems by eliminating the use and need for herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Our goal is to support the native ecosystems by building healthy soil to grow forage for the honey bee population and local pollinators and promote the health of our children, grandchildren and multi-species community.

Bee Happy Lands can support your desire to regenerate your land organically!

We offer:

  • Manual weed harvesting 
  • Seeding with native grass and wild flowers 
  • Application of compost tea
  • Inoculation of mycelium and beneficial soil microorganisms
  • Spreading compost top dressing and mulch over disturbed areas
  • Applying biodynamic ash remedy
  • Converting lawns to edible gardens
  • Organic Stewardship Management Education
  • Food Forest Consultation


Bee Happy Lands’ mission is to support healthy ecosystems for the wild pollinators, the
collective watershed, native species and local human community. We are land stewards. Our goal is to
nourish the soil, create longterm stability and promote diversity. Our efforts focus on supporting the health and vitality of the natural environment while mitigating the stresses to the land. We encourage the wild plant populations
to establish a greater balance and ecological harmony. We recognize the value of the pioneer succession
species (wild weeds such as thistle, mullein and oxeye daisy) and work with their natural participation in
mitigating disturbed lands. We are students to nature’s wisdom. In collaboration with the hardy pioneer
species, Bee Happy Lands remediates the soil and prepares the ground for next succession species. The
wild weeds are a valuable part of our work force and minimal disturbance to the land brings about
ultimate success in long term health of the ecosystem.


• Seeding the terrain with drought tolerant native seeds appropriate to elevation
• Applying finished compost and mulch to seeded areas
• Applying organic soil amendments to the land by hand or with backpack sprayers
• Soil Amendments include:                                                                                                                                                                     Biochar
• Compost Tea 
• Fungal Soup
• Effective Microorganisms
• Biodynamic Ash Remedies
• Manual harvesting of specific pioneer plants in moderation
• Minimal disturbance in our land stewardship practices
• Honoring the pioneer species as a part of our land stewardship work force
• Educating about the value of the wild weeds

We highly value working with the forces of nature.  Successful remediation of the land happens best when we align with the efforts of the pioneer species (weeds), which are nature's front line work force in transforming disturbed land into more stabilized and fertile ecosystems.  The pioneer species regenerate topsoil fertility by composting their leaves every season. They aerate the compacted soil through their deep taprootsThey maintain moisture in the soil and prevent topsoil drying up and blowing away. The pioneer species are a primary source of nectar and pollen for the honeybees and wild pollinators. They have an essential relationship to the microorganisms in the soil promoting healthy soil ecology. These wild weeds are a key factor in preparing the soil for greater diversity by helping the next succession species get established. The pioneer plants are drought hardy species that re-mineralize and regenerate the soil. In addition, they are invaluable foods and medicine to humans and a multitude of other species. In short, our work supports the pioneer species' natural efforts but in a quicker time frame.  We are on the same team in honor of all of life to create a more diverse habitat, increased fertility and stability of the soil.

Thank you so much for caring about our precious earth and all the living creatures who dwell here too!

Please contact us at beehappylands@gmail.com or (970) 317-0988

and follow us at facebook.com/beehappylands/

Past and Present Projects throughout the Southwest include:

Town of Telluride - 560 acres in the Telluride Valley Floor

Town of Ophir

Town of Sawpit

RRL Ranch in Ridgeway 

Town of Mancos - Cottonwood Park

City of Durango - Brookside Park and Needham Park and the Animas River Trail

Crowley Ranch Reserve - Chromo, CO

Electra Lake Sporting Club 

Tara Mandala near Pagosa Springs, CO

Many individual homeowners in the area


 Bee Happy Crew working in the Valley Floor of Telluride in 2017

Turtle Lake Refuge along with dedicated City Council members, staff and volunteers from our community helped establish the movement of Organic Parks in Durango. In 2009,Turtle Lake Refuge collaborated with the City of Durango's Park and Recreation Department by volunteering our efforts in applying compost tea to Brookside Park, setting up bat boxes and leading weed harvesting parties. In 2010 another organic parks was added to the program.

In 2012, the City of Durango unanimously passed an Organically Managed Lands Resolution and added 9 parks to the list of organically managed parks: Brookside, Pioneer, Riverview Sports Complex, Folsom, Fanto, Iris, Needham, Riverfront, and Schneider, making up over a third of Durango’s parks.  The City hired a national organic lands consultant, Chip Osborne, to train and help implement the organically managed lands program. Today, the community of Durango continues to be committed to managing public parks organically and educating the City staff about best management practices leading to reduction of herbicide and chemical fertilizer use on public parks and open space lands. Rotary Park was recently added to the list of organic parks in Durango, which is the home of the annual Dandelion Festival held the first Saturday in May to celebrate organic land stewardship.

 Bee Happy Lands continues to teach tolerance and value of the local weeds as well as support businesses’ and homeowners’ lawns, wild lands and gardens to transition into organic management. Over the last several years, Bee Happy Lands has successfully taken on larger open space projects such as: 600 acres of the Electra Lake Sporting Club and 560 acres of the Town of Telluride Valley Floor, Cottonwood Park in Mancos, Tara Mandala in Pagosa Spring, the town of Ophir, a large scale private ranch in Ridgeway, homeowners associations and several of the organic parks in Durango to name a few. We help manage these lands through education and organic practices including manual harvest of the pioneer plants, seeding with native grasses and flowers, fertilizing the soil with compost tea, organic nutrients, mulch and soil amendments. These practices help grow the stability of the land's ecosystem resulting in the reduction of the pioneer plants (weeds) and the encouragement of diversity of succession species.

Below is an example of the success of our organic weed mitigation work with a Before and After picture.


Before - Picture taken at Electra Lake in September of 2016








After - Photo taken at Electra Lake in September of 2018


Attached Files   

IMG_0185.jpg turtlelakerefuge Sep 19, 2018 9.48 MB