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Feed a Bee Kicks Off 2018 by Funding New Projects
USAgNet - 03/13/2018

Less than one year after launching the Feed a Bee 50-state forage grant program, the Bayer Bee Care Program today revealed the list of 20 new organizations that have received funding for important forage initiatives around the country, bringing the total number of projects funded to more than 100. After a rigorous review and evaluation process by the Feed a Bee steering committee, 20 organizations were chosen in the latest round of review to receive awards ranging from $1,000 - $5,000. This brings the total for the program to 112 funded projects in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

In 2017, Bayer announced the Feed a Bee forage initiative, with the goal of distributing $500,000 for projects focused on establishing or restoring pollinator forage in every state by the end of 2018. Since then, 215 organizations and private individuals have applied for the grants, all with one goal in mind: providing more diverse, abundant sources of nutrition for pollinators.

"It's exciting to see this program continue to develop and impact communities around the country," said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager, Bayer North American Bee Care Program. "For more than 30 years, Bayer has been actively involved in finding solutions for pollinator health, and this Feed a Bee initiative demonstrates organizations all over the country are looking for ways to become just as engaged in the quest to support a diverse food supply for honey bees and other important pollinators."

This round's 20 forage projects, which will be carried out across the country by schools, universities, government organizations and nonprofits, will take place throughout the remainder of the year. For example, Warrior Overwatch Inc., an organization in Georgia funded in this latest round, incorporates farming and gardening as therapeutic outlets for veterans with PTSD. They hope to select native plants from a local university and use the forage grant funds to create pollinator habitat throughout their six-acre farm located in Dahlonega. The Collier County 4-H Association, located in Naples, Fla., will use its grant to create a pollinator garden where 4-H students and master gardeners can work and learn side by side. Several other grantees will be expanding existing pollinator habitat and developing educational materials for their visitors on how planting forage can support pollinators, such as honey bees, birds and butterflies.

"In our 60-acre outdoor historical village, we proudly interpret the life of our pioneer settlers, but equally important is the land and our responsibility to ensure its care," said grantee Amy Meyer, executive director, Manitowoc County Historical Society in Wisconsin. "The funding from our Feed a Bee grant will aid us in enhancing our museum with a natural habitat that will bring to life the environment our early pioneers experienced. The newly established pollinator habitat will include a nature trail and two honey bee hives, as well as a place to host public education programs for our local high school horticulture classes."

With three grant cycles remaining in 2018, only 11 states remain to complete the Feed a Bee forage initiative's goal of planting in all 50 states by the end of the year. Those states are: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, Vermont and Wyoming.

"In the first year of the program, we awarded funds to organizations in almost every state, so our goal in 2018 is to establish forage in those states that haven't yet had projects funded," Langer said. "With an initiative like this, it truly does take a village, and we are excited to see what these recently-selected projects, which include three new states, will do with their funds, as well as what prospective organizations have planned for their proposals. If your organization is in any of our 11 remaining states, we strongly encourage you to apply!"

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