When a pandemic-induced layoff left David Burrows jobless and reeling in the spring of 2020, the former chief marketing officer of a restaurant software company knew he needed a Plan B. He wound up hitting on Plan Bee.
Before COVID-19 disrupted life as he knew it, Burrows had been helping a friend bring a bee research nonprofit from the Netherlands to the United States, a project that opened his eyes to the plight of the honeybee—a species that, according to one recent study, just experienced its second-highest death rate on record. Inspired by the nonprofit’s mission and spurred by the desire to do “something bigger than me,” Burrows, along with his wife, Margaret, a sales director at a Dallas-based jewelry manufacturer, launched a two-prong approach to save the world one bee, bat, and butterfly at a time.
Burrows’ first prong, Hivessence, is an eco-friendly skincare line populated with honey-infused soaps, hydrating serums, moisturizers, masks, and other cruelty-free products formulated to keep one’s youthful facial features—much like the honeybees—off the path to extinction. A portion of every Hivessence sale goes to Burrows’ second prong: Arkearth, a foundation that deploys “pollination accelerator” projects into community gardens, urban farms, schools, hotels, and corporate headquarters. Arkearth’s projects come in the form of beehives, bat houses, butterfly enclosures, and other features designed to restore those pollinating species and others while increasing plant life and providing educational opportunities.
“About 70 percent of our food is impacted by pollination.”
“I think of pollination as the cornerstone of life because about 70 percent of our food is either directly or indirectly impacted by pollination,” Burrows says. “So if that went away, all the species that do that, then we’d be in real trouble as a planet.”
Some of Arkearth’s current projects can be found at Bonton Farms, Trinity River Audubon Center, Restorative Farms, and even the rooftop of downtown’s Fairmont hotel, where Burrows recently received his first bee sting. Individuals can also get in the pollination game by purchasing pollinator hotels, bat houses, hummingbird feeders, wildflower seeds, and other pollination features on the Arkearth website. The goal: to allow anyone interested in pollination, whether they have a thousand-acre ranch or an apartment balcony, to do their part for the planet.
“I want to be the Starbucks of pollination,” Burrows says. “I want to make this where everybody can be involved at some level.”
This story originally appeared in the September issue of D Magazine with the headline, “He Creates Buzz.” Write to [email protected].