The 4-H Youth Development Program is an incredible opportunity for youths to learn new skills, make new friends, and become involved in leadership activities and community service projects. It's all about "Making the Best Better" and "Learn by Doing."
One of the scores of projects 4-H'ers can enroll in is entomology. That would include beekeeping!
But you don't have to be a beekeeper or be enrolled in an entomology project to enter the statewide bee essay contest. You just have to be a 4-H'er.
"Every year The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, Inc. runs a contest for the 4-Hers and this year is no exception," wrote Extension Apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in her current newsletter. "California 4-H members have participated in this national contest organized by Dr. Eric Mussen (Extension apiculturist for 38 years before his retirement in June of 2014) on the state level. Last year Dr. Mussen passed the torch onto me, but I was a little disappointed that I received no essays from the California 4-H members. So let's see if we can get your creativity buzzing."
This year's essay theme is "Bees and Pollination: How Important Is It?" Niño urges California 4-H'ers to "put your pens to paper (or fingers on your keyboard) and start telling everyone else just how important bees and pollination are to our own wellbeing." Or maybe well-bee-ing.
The deadline to submit the essays (750 and 1000 words) to Niño is Feb. 15, right after Valentine's Day. Her email is an easy one to remember, especially when El Niño is visiting us. It's firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contest details are at http://preservationofhoneybees.org/essays#rules-overview-2. Essays from previous years are also posted.
"And if you need more motivation, every state's winner receives a book about bees and beekeeping," Niño says, "and the national winners receive a nice sum of money that they can put in their piggy banks. "
Yes. Each state winner goes on to compete at the national level. The national champion wins $750, while the second and third place winners will receive $500 and $250, respectively. Plus, there's another incentive: the national-winning essays will be published in the American Beekeeping Federation's newsletter.
Author - Communications specialist