Six Reasons Why You Should Apply for the Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award

The Bayer Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award, sponsored by the North American Bayer Bee Care Program, recognizes the next generation of beekeepers (12-18 years old) and their efforts to give back to their communities through activities that support honey bee and pollinator health. These outstanding individuals have created unique projects on their own or with their local communities to promote and protect bee health for years to come.

The 2020 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award application is now closed. First, second and third place award recipients will be announced in September during National Honey Month.

Check back in the spring for information on the 2021 award process. In the meantime, read on to learn six reasons why we encourage bright young beekeepers to apply for the Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award:

young beekeeper tending hive

1. You’re passionate about pollinators.

The Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award originated in 2019 as a continuation of the Bayer North America Bee Care Program’s Young Beekeeper Award, following several years of Bayer’s recognition of leaders in pollinator health. If you’re the one in your group of friends who is passionate about the future of our food and our fuzzy friends, then this award may be just for you!

2. You can win some serious dough for school or to further your projects.

Each entrant for the 2020 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award had the chance to earn a $3,000 (1st), $2,000 (2nd) or $1,000 (3rd) prize, which can be used towards their beekeeping project or to continue their education, such as applying toward college tuition.

3. You can spread the word about your pollinator program.

The first-place winner of the 2018 Young Beekeeper Award and recipient of the 2019 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award, Leo Schirokauer, was one of more than 50 young applicants leading the way for the next generation to inspire others within the beekeeping and pollinator space. With support from Bayer, Leo used his prize money to help spur his research to investigate a cure for the devastating honey bee disease American Foulbrood (AFB). AFB is an incurable disease that kills a hive’s larvae, ultimately killing the hive itself. The availability of a treatment for AFB would not only allow beekeepers to save infected hives but would also alleviate the growing danger of a larger scale outbreak of the disease.

After winning the award, Leo has continued honey bee health research. In 2019, he traveled to Denali National Park in Alaska for two weeks to work on a native pollinator inventory project.

“I’m really excited about the potential implications my research could have on the beekeeping industry and on pollinator health overall,” said Leo. You can read more about past award recipients here.

young beekeeper showing hive

4. If you’re between the ages of 12 and 18 and already working with pollinators, you’re eligible!

Anyone between 12 and 18 years old is eligible to apply for the Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award once applications reopen in 2021. Applicants must be actively participating in the beekeeping or pollinator health space. This can be in the form of a school or community project; hive management as a hobby or family business; or research into the factors affecting pollinator health.

In other words, we want to know what young beekeepers are doing to support honey bees and other pollinators in their communities!

5. Applying is quick and easy!

This year, applications opened on June 22, 2020 during National Pollinator Week and closed on August 23, 2020. Find out more about the Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award here.

6. Your work will be seen by leaders in beekeeping and pollinator health.

The 2020 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award panel of judges consists of industry leaders in the beekeeping and pollinator health community. Learn more about this year’s panel of judges here.

Our 2020 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award winners will be announced in September during National Honey Month.

Good luck to all of you!