- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's the topic--and a good one it is--of the 2013 4-H Honey Bee Essay Contest, sponsored by The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees.
Why this topic? "Pesticides are a fact of modern life, but misuse or overuse of pesticides, or making poor choices when selecting and applying pesticides can be devastating to honey bees and other pollinators. The 4-H’ers are encouraged to learn about bee-killing pesticides being used in their communities – by homeowners, businesses, or farmers. Then, they should investigate how the impact of those pesticides on honey bees can be lessened."--National Essay Contest Guidelines.
The contest is open only to members of 4-H, a youth development program that teaches life skills and how to make the best better. Some 4-H'ers are beekeepers, but enrollment in a beekeeping project isn't required to enter the competition.
Each state will select a winner and then a national winner will be selected from the pool of state winners.
Judges will score the essays on scope of research (40 percent), accuracy (30 percent), creativity (10 percent), conciseness (10 percent) and logical development of the topic (10 percent).
California 4-H'ers have until Feb. 15, 2013 to submit their essays (750 to 1000) words to the state judge/coordinator, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. All essays must be electronically submitted (firstname.lastname@example.org). (See the rules.)
In 2011, California 4-H'er Rachel Ricchiuto won the national award for her essay on "U.S. Honey: A Taste for Every Preference." This year (2012) another California 4-H'er, Tucker Van Brunt, received second for his essay on "The Results of Honey Bee Pollination in My Community." You can read their essays and other award-winning essays on the Honey Bee Preservation website.
The national winners will receive cash prizes: 1st place: $750; 2nd place, $500; and 3rd place, $250. All national and state winners will receive a book about honey bees, beekeeping, or honey.
It will be interesting to see what the youths have to say about pesticides.
And, by the way, Mussen points out that "honey bee" is two words, not one.