About Us


Our Philosophy

Thank you for your interest in Grateful Trees & Bees.  We are a family owned and operated company located in Durham, North Carolina and serving Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle area.  It is our pleasure to provide tree services, forestry consulting services, honeybee hive installation and maintenance, and kitchen garden installation.

We believe that every landowner has a role to play in contributing to a healthy ecosystem, no matter the size of your property; and that good land stewardship is built on simple, basic and affordable actions.  We are dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities sustainably and intelligently tend the spaces where human needs intersect with the natural world.

We often say in our family, “It isn’t rocket science.”  That’s how we feel about the steps we can all take to begin to live in a way that brings us back into alignment with the natural world.  Every action adds up and no action is too small.  Take pride in your care of a single tree.  Experience the joy of a buzzing honeybee hive.  Savor the taste of a vine ripened tomato.  These seemingly small acts, performed in backyards across America, do matter.  It is our family’s honor to help your family embark on these first steps.

Meet Our People

Jacob Pressley, Owner, Certified Arborist & Consulting Forester

Sustainable arboriculture services and consulting forestry services form the foundation of Grateful Trees & Bees.  Jacob Pressley, company owner and founder, has long shared an intimate relationship with trees, planting his first stand of blue spruce (Picea pungens) on his family’s farm at the age of four.  Jake is a Registered Forester with the North Carolina State Board of Registration for Foresters;  a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture; and he carries a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Maine at Orono.

For a decade Jake served as the Orange County Forest Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, overseeing the planting of 1.54 million trees and crafting over five hundred management plans to care for 26,577 acres of forests and green spaces.  In this capacity he gained experience with a wide variety of landowners and environmental objectives, employing both the techniques of traditional and urban forestry.

Through Grateful Trees & Bees, Jake is able to expand his involvement in land management beyond the planning stage.  We work where “the rubber meets the road,” using cutting-edge arboricultural and forestry practices to actualize and implement plans to insure tree and forest health — whether the prescription is for a single tree or hundreds of acres of timber land.

Pixie Barrows, Certified Beekeeper

Jake’s mother, Pixie Barrows, runs our beekeeping services, custom designed to offer as much or as little support as you need to establish and maintain a healthy hive on your land.  Pixie was taught the art of beekeeping by her grandfather and began passing on the tradition to Jake at an early age.  She is doing the same with her grandson, Reid, who at the age of five enjoys donning the beekeeper’s suit, hat and gloves.  Pixie brings over thirty-five years of experience in working honeybee hives to her position, is a North Carolina Certified Beekeeper and is a member of the North Carolina Beekeeper’s Association as well as the Orange County Beekeeper’s Association.

Jennifer Socey, Kitchen Gardener & Office Manager

Jake’s wife, Jennifer, runs the administrative office of Grateful Trees and Bees.  She is also a writer and pens our company blog.  While the rows of spreadsheets and lines of text appeal to her, her greatest love is communion with the green realm in that magical space called a garden.

Since 2005, Jake and Jennifer have grown their family’s vegetables, flowers and herbs in a 1/3 of an acre kitchen garden.  Tilling up greater and greater patches of their backyard, they noticed that a curious thing began to happen – their yard got bigger.  The garden’s plants invited in birds, butterflies, bees, grasshoppers, spiders, dragonflies, moths, praying mantis, skinks, squirrels, turtles, voles, snakes, rabbits, and spirits of the land.  As the backyard pulsed with life, it actually seemed to grow larger and richer than its acre-bound 43,560 square feet.

They noticed something else began to happen too.  Their children actually began to enjoy eating vegetables.  Now at the dinner table, the question most often asked isn’t, “Do I have to eat the carrots?” but rather, “Are they our carrots?”