April! It’s one of my favorite months. The temperatures are still mild. The grass is turning green, while tender young leaves and buds are sprouting on trees and bushes, including those joyful heralds of the season: the electric-yellow forsythia.

On April 22, many of us will observe Earth Day, a day set aside to discuss how we can work to make the world a cleaner, safer place for ourselves and future generations. In this, our “Eco” issue, we have several stories on this theme.

As many of you know, honey bees play a vital role in the food chain; they survive by gathering pollen and nectar, and in the collecting of these two nutrients they pollinate a wide variety of crops. In our cover story, writer Staci Elder Hensley examines the art and science of beekeeping in Oklahoma.

In this month’s Giving Back column, Lindsey Davies shines the spotlight on Earth Rebirth, a nonprofit whose focus is on educating and empowering individuals to take food, energy and water into their own hands through several community-based programs. One of the most publicized of these is Garden Your Own Growth, in which Earth Rebirth staff and volunteers work with schools, churches, neighborhoods and families to teach them how to grow their own food and work as a community to provide an economic return on the produce grown.

Davies also is the author of this month’s Local’s Choice, featuring recommendations from a local horticultural expert for low-maintenance flowering plants for your garden or other landscaping purposes. Once established, the four selections are drought-tolerant (which means less stress on our limited water supplies); attract and sustain pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds; and add beauty to our environs.

For our final “Eco” piece, our Driver’s Notebook column highlights a hybrid sedan that offers great fuel economy without sacrificing looks, power or cargo space.

We think you’ll find lots of other stories of interest inside. Take the magazine with you on the patio and find out more about what’s going on in YOUR community while enjoying Oklahoma’s beautiful spring weather.