Saving bees in downtown Minneapolis, one home at a time

As he beelines across the Target Center's "green" roof, 14-year-old Nikolas Liepins passes two small bamboo and concrete homes he built himself.

They might be little, but that's okay--they're for bees, after all.

Liepins launched his own non-profit last year, Bee Kind Inc., with a mission of saving the tiny pollinators and their natural habitat after years of urban development that's destroyed much of the bees' habitat.

"Native bees are super important," he said. "They're more effective at pollination than honey bees and so few people are aware of them."

Though his operation is barely a year old, Liepins has already registered 160 bee homes in the U.S., Canada and France, earning the 14-year-old a national Pollinator Advocate award. He's the first Minnesotan and the youngest ever to receive the honor.

It's all an effort, he says, to save the tiny creatures that are responsible for pollinating one-third of the world's food crops.

"We rely on them for all of the beautiful flowers we see around the world, for the various crops we eat, for the things that help us to live," Liepins said. "Without them we wouldn't be able to survive."

You can register a bee home through Bee Kind, Inc. for free or find instructions to build your own by visiting the organization's website.