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W.Va. Beekeeper Wins 2014 Bayer CropScience Bee Care Community Leadership Award

Bayer CropScience Herbert Everhart

As a disabled Vietnam veteran who lost a leg in the war, West Virginia beekeeper Herbert Everhart, owner of Eversweet Apiaries, was a natural choice to help start what may be the first beekeeping program for veterans in the U.S.

Sponsored by the West Virginia Eastern Panhandle Beekeeping Association, the two-year program is designed to educate veterans on all aspects of beekeeping, including establishing hives and marketing their products.

Everhart’s efforts have earned his community the 2nd annual Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award, sponsored by the North American Bayer Bee Care Program. Presented during National Pollinator Week, the award recognizes an individual who has harnessed the power of the honey bee colony to create innovative projects that benefit a community. The award provides a $5,000 grant to the winner’s organization, which can be used to support a community beekeeping project.

“I am honored to be chosen to receive this year’s Bee Care Community Leadership Award,” said Everhart, who was recognized during a reception in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. “The grant will enable us to expand our project significantly. In addition to supporting the veterans program, some of the funds will also be used to support our beekeeping program targeted toward youth.”

Bayer received numerous nominations from across the country. Each applicant had to provide the following information to be considered for the award:

• Description of project that leverages the power of a honey bee hive and beekeeping to benefit a community;

• Answers to a set of essay questions; and

• Submission of a letter of reference from an apiarist, community organization or member of a relevant organization, such as a beekeeping association.

“The impact of Herbert’s efforts to improve the community around him by teaching others about the value of honey bees to our food supply is exactly what the Bee Care Award exemplifies,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager of the North American Bayer Bee Care Program. “Each year, Herbert mentors several veterans and youth to ensure they know the proper way to handle honey bee colonies so they are healthy and thrive.”

The entries were judged by a four-person panel that included Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine; Darren Cox, VP of the American Honey Producers Association; Dr. David Tarpy, associate professor and extension apiculturist at North Carolina State University; and Dick Rogers, research manager and entomologist of the North American Bayer Bee Care Center. During the reception, Langer also expressed Bayer’s appreciation to the judges for taking time from their busy schedules to help choose the winner.

“I commend Bayer for sponsoring this beneficial award,” said Bee Culture magazine’s Flottum. “I think it reminds us all of the vital connection honey bees can play, not only in producing the best part of our food supply, but in doing so they bring all people in the global community a step closer to each other.”

The Bee Care Community Leadership Award and Congressional reception are only two of the activities Bayer is conducting during National Pollinator Week, which is June 16-22. Bayer also is collaborating with the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) Master Gardeners Program to plant a pollinator garden at The SEED Public Charter School of Washington, D.C. SEED students will participate in planting the pollinator garden and gain hands-on experience in learning about the importance of honey bees to sustainable agriculture.

Bayer’s participation in National Pollinator Week is a part of the company’s more than 25-year commitment to supporting bee health. In April, Bayer opened its Bee Care Center in North America, a 6,000-s.f. facility focused on research and collaboration for a wide range of stakeholders concerned about bee health.

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Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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