Bayer has launched a nationwide search for the beekeeping industry’s next generation of leaders, researchers, and change-makers. Revamped for 2018, the Bayer Bee Care Young Beekeeper Award honors students who are actively working to support honey bees in their local communities.
As an initiative of the Bayer North American Bee Care Program, the Young Beekeeper Award provides entrants between the ages of 12 and 18 the opportunity to win $3,000 (1st place), $2,000 (2nd place), or $1,000 (3rd place) to support honey bee-focused initiatives in their schools or communities, or to help fund their college tuition.
The Young Beekeeper Award will recognize the next generation of beekeepers and their efforts to give back to their communities through pollinator health and education. Jake Reisdorf, the first recipient of the 2017 Young Beekeeper Award, is a 15-year-old from California who manages more than 100 hives and runs his own business, Carmel Honey Company.
Last year, the program introduced a new award specific to young beekeepers, 18 and under, who applied for the funds to support honey bee-focused initiatives in their schools or communities. Based on the overwhelming interest in participating and excellent quality of applicants, this year Bayer is shifting the program. The Young Beekeeper Award will recognize the next generation of beekeepers and their efforts to give back to their communities through pollinator health and education. Previously, Bayer Bee Care granted the award to adult beekeepers who work with community partners to support and promote bee health. Past honoree efforts include teaching war veterans how to keep bees healthy, using beekeeping as therapeutic instruction for at-risk youth, and educating golfers about why honey bees on the green are good for the environment.
“Young beekeepers are critical to promoting and preserving the overall health of pollinators and play a pivotal role in providing pollinators sustainable habitats and diverse food sources for years to come,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager for the Bayer North American Bee Care Program. “We are passionate about celebrating these students’ contributions to their communities and are honored to support the valuable work they’re doing to promote bee health for future generations.”
The winners will be determined by three judges, including Jake Reisdorf, first recipient of the 2017 Young Beekeeper Award; Kim Flottum, editor-in-chief of Bee Culture Magazine; and Langer. The judges will select winners based on responses to two essay questions and a professional reference from an individual involved in the student’s project, such as a mentoring beekeeper/apiarist, community organization, grower, agricultural group, teacher, school official, or member of a relevant organization (e.g. beekeeping or gardening association).
Jake Reisdorf was one of more than 20 young applicants leading the way for the next generation to inspire others within the beekeeping and pollinator space. He is also passionate about paying it forward through his “Jake Gives Back” program, where he engages his community through speeches at schools and local organizations to educate people about honey bees.
“Educating others about the importance of pollinators and their central role in our ecosystem is a passion of mine,” said Reisdorf. “This past year, I have shared my story and my goals with thousands of people who never knew I existed. When organizations like Bayer recognize the importance of young adults’ contribution to pollinator health, amazing things can happen.”
Any student between the ages of 12 and 18 who has approval from a legal guardian as well as a sponsoring mentor may apply for the prizes. To review application requirements and enter online, please visit: https://beehealth.bayer.us/young-beekeeper-award. The deadline for submission is May 15, 2018.