The Bayer Bee Care Center celebrated a milestone Thursday — more than 10,000 visitors have passed through its doors in just three years. The Center recognized a group of 75 fourth-graders and their teachers from Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina, as the “honorary visitors” to mark the achievement.
“The Bee Care Center has served as a gathering spot and community outreach arm for pollinator initiatives in the Raleigh area and beyond, and we’re thankful to the many partners and supporters who have joined us to bring this special occasion to fruition,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Crop Science, a division of Bayer, who joined the students during the celebration. “We look forward to continuing our work in researching and advocating for solutions supporting bee health.”
To celebrate this success and the Center’s third anniversary, students spent the morning learning about pollinators through a hands-on, interactive guided tour and scavenger hunt. Included in the day’s festivities was an observation hive, giving students a true peek into the lives of these fuzzy friends.
“We are incredibly excited to have opened our doors to more than 10,000 pollinator enthusiasts in only our first three years,” said Becky Langer, project manager for the Bayer North American Bee Care Program. “It’s been rewarding to welcome so many different people and know they are leaving with new perceptions and understanding of the roles bees play in our environment.”
Students also had the opportunity to participate in a learning station on the importance of pollination taught by Sweet Virginia Foundation, a newly-announced partner of Bayer’s Feed a Bee initiative. Since its launch in 2015, the program, which aims to increase food for bees and other pollinators, has planted 2 billion wildflowers across the U.S. Sweet Virginia Foundation is an educational organization that encourages elementary school students to learn about the vital role honey bees play in our ecosystem by using media-rich lessons and resources available online. In addition, each student took home a potted sunflower plant to begin their own pollinator garden.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to unite with an equally passionate organization in our shared goal of supporting bees and other pollinators,” said Dan Price, founder and CEO of Sweet Virginia Foundation. “I’m eager to see the many possibilities that will come to life in the future from our work together.”
The 10,000th visitor milestone was also commemorated with a $10,000 donation from Bayer to Project PLANTS, a Grow For It project from the JC Raulston Arboretum educating students about the science behind horticulture. The donation, made during a tour of the Bee Care Center on Tuesday, April 18, will support flower plantings, establishing forage and habitat for pollinators, and supporting them in pollinating many of the crops and landscapes we enjoy.
In addition to its community outreach arm, the Bee Care Center houses much of the research Bayer conducts on pollinator health. From implementing Smart Hive technology for remote monitoring of hives to developing some of the first miticides available to beekeepers to combat harmful pests, Bayer has spent more than 30 years researching and developing solutions for the problems honey bees face.