This spring and summer, youth from Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Nebraska will participate in the Native Bee Challenge, a hands-on activity to learn about native bees and the important role they play as pollinators. The challenge is part of the 2019 4-H Ag Innovators Experience activity, which has reached more than 48,000 youth since beginning in 2014 and is a collaboration between National 4-H Council and Bayer.
This year’s experience, the Native Bee Challenge, developed by Iowa State University, engages youth to learn about native bees, pollination and its connection to our food supply. Through collaborative, hands-on activities, youth participants will learn about importance of native bees as pollinators for food crops, explore challenges facing today’s native bee population and discover ways to enhance their habitat, which in turn promotes biodiversity.
Working in teams, youth will create a model of pollination that includes five types of native bees and five types of flowers to explore the process of pollination and the connections it has to the global food supply. Youth will explore a variety of scenarios that the bees may encounter and seek ways to increase pollinator habitat to grow the overall bee population and increase biodiversity.
“The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience provides young people with an opportunity to use their critical thinking and STEM skills to solve a real issue facing the agriculture industry today,” said National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo. “In 4-H, we believe in providing a platform where youth can learn-by-doing and are empowered to grow unique skills that help them to become true leaders in their lives, careers and communities.”
Since 2014, more than 45,000 youth from across the U.S. have participated in more than 1000 domestic and global 4-H AIE events, led by 1057 trained teen leaders. The Native Bee Challenge will take place March through July 2019 at various sites, including 4-H clubs, 4-H camps, school enrichment and 4-H afterschool settings.
“Bayer is proud to continue to partner with 4-H on this year’s Ag Innovators Experience. This year’s Native Bee Challenge will help students learn about the importance of native bees to food security, the diversity of species, and how all sectors can work to increase their habitat,” said Aimee Hood, Science and Policy Information Management and Communications Lead, Bayer.
To learn more about the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, visit their website.