Wyoming 4-H’ers target bee decline in plan formed in Washington, D.C. | TSLN.com

Wyoming 4-H’ers target bee decline in plan formed in Washington, D.C.

Wyoming 4-H'ers during a trip to Washington, D.C., applied their heads, hands, hearts and health (4-H'er pledge to better the world) to solve declining bee numbers in their home state.

The group of 12 4-H'ers from five counties won $500 at the Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) for a plan to create a beekeeping curriculum and offer $250 to a Wyoming 4-H'er whose bees produced the best honey. That 4-H'er could then use the money to expand her or his beehive.

Farm Credit provided the money.

The Wyoming group members were:

Big Horn County – Nyckalas Harvey

Niobrara County – Taten Gaukel, Kaden Gaukel, Amber Jensen, Meghan Proctor

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Sweetwater County – Andrew Hamilton

Sheridan County – Emma Balstad

Teton County – Teage Dayton, Zoie Dayton, Milo Mattson, Molly Moyer, James Raube

Bee numbers in the U.S. have decreased more than 50 percent since the 1990s. From April 2015 to April 2016, beekeepers in America lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies, according to the Bee Informed Partnership, whose members include the USDA and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The 4-H'ers want to help increase numbers in Wyoming by encouraging other 4-H'ers to become involved in beekeeping.

"We will use half of the $500 to help get the bee project started so 4-H'ers can have their own bee habitat and hives," said Balstad, a member of the Tongue River Roundup 4-H Club.

4-H'ers from across the U.S. are participating in CWF this summer. Wyoming participated with Montana and Nebraska 4-H'ers in the second session, June 11-18. 4-H'ers learn about the legislative process and meet with their state's delegations.

The agenda changed this year to have each 4-H group identify a problem in their state and provide a solution, said Platte County 4-H educator Brenda McKinzie, who accompanied the Wyoming 4-H'ers.

Each 4-H delegation had to present the problem, an action plan and develop a video to post on Instagram. National 4-H Council members judged the efforts.

"I think they did excellent," said McKinzie.

Balstad and others introduced the beekeeping project to 4-H'ers attending the Showcase Showdown in Laramie last month and will work with the state 4-H office to develop a curriculum for next year. Those 4-H'ers in the project will bring their honey to the annual Showcase Showdown for judging.

The Wyoming group has a chance to win another $500. An overall winner from all the groups attending CWF will be selected at the end of summer. Sessions end July 15.

–UW Extension