CATCH THE BUZZ – Bayer Launches Blue Ribbon Beekeepers Pollinator Week.

The company announced Blue Ribbon Beekeepers to recognize the outstanding achievements of young people who have made a positive impact on their communities through beekeeping or pollinator-related research.

These Blue Ribbon Beekeepers include past winners of the annual Bayer Bee Care Program Young Beekeeper Award, as well as other outstanding up-and-comers in the beekeeping industry. The inductees are:

• Catherine Trusky, 17, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, top applicant for the 2018 Young Beekeeper Award, who founded the Chapel Hill High School Bee Club and conducts pollinator demonstrations at local schools and festivals;
• Hayden Chrisman, 17, of Commerce, Texas, top applicant for the 2018 Young Beekeeper Award, who manages more than 200 hives, helps facilitate the Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association scholarship program and writes expert beekeeping articles for Timber Creek Apiaries;
• Jake Reisdorf, 16, of Carmel, California, winner of the 2017 Young Beekeeper Award and owner of Carmel Honey Company, which operates nearly 100 hives and a retail store in his native Monterey County;
• Jonathan “JD” Murphy, 18, of Denison, Texas, 2nd runner-up of the 2018 Young Beekeeper Award, who speaks at local schools and established a scholarship program with the Grayson County Bee Club to inspire interest in beekeeping among his peers;
• Kate Riding, 15, of Redmond, Oregon, top applicant for the 2018 Young Beekeeper Award, who teaches beginning beekeeping classes and won a national essay competition sponsored by the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees;
• Leo Schirokauer, 18, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, winner of the 2018 Young Beekeeper Award, who is conducting research at Case Western University to find a cure for American Foulbrood, a devastating disease that affects honey bees; and
• Tucker Leck, 12, of Neodesha, Kansas, top applicant for the 2017 Young Beekeeper Award, who conducts beekeeping activities on behalf of his 4-H club and presents to local kindergarten classes and after-school programs.

“Project Apis m. congratulates the initial inductees into the Bayer Blue Ribbon Beekeepers honors program,” said Danielle Downey, executive director of Project Apis m., the nation’s leading organization focused on enhancing honey bee health and improving crop production. “The passion and commitment of these outstanding young people to beekeeping is truly inspiring. The beekeeping industry needs this next generation, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

Each member of the 2019 class will receive $1,000 and a plaque commemorating their new status as a Blue Ribbon Beekeeper.

Also in celebration of National Pollinator Week, Bayer announced 14 new grantees in its Feed a Bee national pollinator forage initiative, for a total of nearly 180 grantees over the two-year program. In December, Feed a Bee reached its goal of awarding grants to support diverse forage for honey bees and other pollinators in all 50 states. With the new round of grants, Bayer’s Feed a Bee program has awarded more than $700,000 for pollinator-focused planting projects to deserving organizations across the country.

“We are pleased to have been part of this effort that has taken action to address the habitat needs of pollinators across the country,” said Keith Norris, director of wildlife policy and communications at The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, Md., and a member of the Feed a Bee steering committee that selected all the grantees. “One of the major conservation challenges facing honey bees and other native pollinators is a lack of adequate forage. Feed a Bee has provided funds and sponsored educational activities encouraging people to get involved in meeting this need.”

Grantees awarded funding in the ninth round of the Feed a Bee forage initiative include:
• Cobblestone Farms, Arkansas
• The Anthony School, Arkansas
• Alturas Garden Club, California
• Incarnation Center, Connecticut
• Backyard Abundance, Iowa
• Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Maine
• New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg, New Jersey
• The Fresh Air Fund, New York
• Airlie Gardens, North Carolina
• Western Reserve Academy, Ohio
• The Association of the Friends of the Wichita, Oklahoma
• Lakewood Elementary School, South Carolina
• Kitsap Conservation District, Washington
• Victory Garden Initiative, Wisconsin