The fifth annual Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award will recognize young beekeepers and partnerships that protect pollinators.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
By: Dr. Becky Langer, Bayer North American Bee Care Program, Project Manager
bee care

Are you a beekeeper, grower, researcher, golf course superintendent or other stakeholder involved in a collaborative partnership to protect pollinators? Is this partnership making a difference in your community? Or, do you know a young beekeeper undertaking pollinator-focused initiatives in his or her school or community? If so, the Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award application is for you.


beekeepers with beesFor the fifth year, Bayer is seeking entries from deserving individuals who are championing bee health in their local networks. This is the first time both a young beekeeper and a pair working together to promote pollinator health will be honored. The partners will receive a $5,000 prize to continue their valuable work promoting and protecting pollinators in the community. Likewise, a $1,000 prize will be awarded to a young beekeeper to further his or her efforts to improve pollinator health, establish an apiary on his or her school campus or amplify existing beekeeping efforts.


Through my role as project manager for the Bayer North American Bee Care program, I’ve witnessed firsthand the importance of working together to make a positive difference in the realm of pollinator health. Rather than only honoring beekeepers who are doing this important work, we’ve found that growers, researchers, golf course superintendents and similar stakeholders play an essential role in helping beekeepers provide pollinators with sustainable habitats and diverse food sources. Today’s young beekeepers are also critical to promoting and preserving the overall health of pollinator species for generations to come. Through this award, Bayer will celebrate their efforts.


beekeeper demonstrationSaveThis year’s award winners will be selected from a pool of applicants by a panel of three judges. Returning in 2017, the judges include Pamela Smith, editor at The Progressive Farmer, Joe Graham, editor at the American Bee Journal, and me. We will select winners based on responses to two essay questions and a reference from one of several stakeholders, such as an apiarist, community organization, grower, agricultural group, teacher, school official or member of a relevant organization, such as a beekeeping or gardening association.


The past winners of our Community Leadership Award exemplify beekeepers who leveraged their passion for honey bees to benefit their neighbors and communities. Previous winners include Scott Witte, director of agronomy at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, Illinois, and Luke Cella, executive director of the Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents (MAGCS), who were the first partners to be recognized for their efforts to promote healthy ecosystems for honey bees on golf courses through the Bee Barometer Project. The teamwork they demonstrated inspired the decision to expand eligibility of the 2017 Bee Care Community Leadership Award to beekeeping collaborations and young beekeepers.


Additionally, Paul Vonk, the 2015 award recipient, developed HiveTool™, a collection of hardware and free, open source software for beekeepers to continuously monitor bee hives; Herbert Everhart created a beekeeping program for U.S. veterans in 2014; and Steve McNair, the 2013 award recipient, used beekeeping to help teach responsibility and discipline to at-risk teens.


pink flowerAny pair who has created a pollinator-supportive partnership may apply for the $5,000 prize, and any student under 18 who has approval from a legal guardian and sponsoring mentor, such as an apiarist, grower, community leader, teacher, school official, beekeeper, etc., may apply for the $1,000 prize. To review application requirements and expectations of the award winners, enter online or download an entry form, as well as learn more about former award recipients, visit our website. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 19, 2017.


We look forward to reviewing your applications and recognizing these passionate partners and young beekeepers who are part of the collective effort to promote and protect pollinator health in 2017 and beyond!


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