Interview with the insect: BEE Green buzzes through Detroit

We don't do a ton of celebrity interviews at Model D. OK, maybe once in a blue moon. But this is one we couldn't resist.

A series of Facebook shots caught our eye recently. The photos showed Detroit's most celebrated insect mascot -- BEE Green of Detroit's recycling house, Recycle Here! -- being overtaken by school kids. These kids were ecstatic to see him. We envied all those unsolicited hugs, and we wanted to know just what the striped crusader was up to in the Detroit Public Schools.

Turns out BEE has been teaching the kids about the three Rs, and launching a cool promotion to get them thinking and acting green. He gave us a few minutes recently to talk about his activities.

Model D: Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us. Your fellow bees are hibernating right now, but you have been as busy as a ... well ... bee. What's all the buzz about?

BEE Green: I have never been the type of bee to fly with the colony, though being a honey bee, I am naturally environmentally friendly. This born passion, combined with the warmth of the wonderful DPS students, keeps me buzzing through the winter months. Seeing all of the smiling students in my many eyes makes me feel like I am huddled in the hive with my family. I have been working with 15 Detroit Public Schools, busy pollinating the minds of our amazing Detroit youth with valuable information about recycling and how to reduce our impact on the environment.

MD: You are easily Detroit's most popular insect, especially among K-12 kids. We've seen pictures on the Internet of the kids swarming the bee. What's it like to be on the receiving end of all that love?

BG: Wonderful! When I see all of the children I get butterflies in both of my stomachs. It is a real natural buzz seeing our Detroit youth get excited about recycling and the environment.

MD: Do you think the kids get the message?

BG:  Yes. Their eyes light up when they see the Green Team show up to their school. They are eager to ask questions and have a lot of great answers to the questions we ask. The recycling bins are full in the school when we go to pick them up. The kids work hard to share the message at home and bring clean, recyclable materials into school. We know they really got it when we see them visit Recycle Here! with their families.

MD: I have a lot of old phone books. Anything special I should do with them right now?

BG: Yes, every old phone book at your house can be recycled. Right now, we are running a phone book recycling program with AT&T and all 174 Detroit public schools. Bring your old phone books to a Recycle Here location and let them know what school should get credit for your old phone books. The school with the most recycled phone books at the end of the program (March 27) will be the winning school and receive a BIG prize.

MD: Do you have any favorite BEE moments you could share with us?

BG: Yes. The cheer team at Barbara Jordan was sweet as honey with their Reduce, Reuse, Recycle cheer. Also, the Hutchins Elementary rendition of the recycle song was wonderful…… It was music to my antennae!

MD: We have to ask, it easy BEE-ing green?

BG: Kermit said it best….sometimes "It ain't easy being green." But for me, BEE-ing Green ain't supposed to be easy, it is my J-O-B.

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey is editor of Model D. Send feedback here.

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