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PRIDE grants for beekeeping clubs, other environmental education projects

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Members of the McCreary County 4-H Bee Club harvested honey from their hive, which was funded in part by a
PRIDE Environmental Education Grant.

SOMERSET, KY – Eastern Kentucky PRIDE is accepting applications for the 2017-18 PRIDE Environmental Education Grant Program, which is made possible by a grant from Appalachian Regional Commission.

The $2,750 grants are available to schools and other institutions that educate students or the public – such as libraries, cooperative extension offices, conservation districts and solid waste departments – in southern and eastern Kentucky.

Grant applications are available online at www.kypride.org. Applications must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2017.

“We invite educators to apply, and we encourage citizens to reach out to local organizations who could use a grant for a project to benefit the community,” said PRIDE’s Tammie Wilson.

“Environmental education is not limited to schools,” she explained. “For example, when a library builds a butterfly garden for outdoor lessons with children, then the entire community also benefits from a beautiful public space to observe nature. Over the years, we have worked with nonprofits, extension agents and conservation districts to celebrate Earth Day, promote recycling, and implement other very creative grant projects.”

“A great example is the McCreary County 4-H Bee Club started by McCreary County Cooperative Extension Agent Greg Whitis,” Wilson said.

Whitis started the club last fall when several local students expressed interest in beekeeping. The club is giving them hands-on experience so they are prepared to start their own hives, if they decide to do so.

Club members have tackled all aspects of beekeeping. They built the hives and added the bees. They monitor the health of the hives. They have robbed hives, extracted the honey and processed it. They wear protective gear when working near the hives.

“They got a real education when they discovered one hive had swarmed and lost its queen,” Whitis said. “As soon as we opened the hive, the kids knew something was wrong. We just didn’t have numbers that we did before. We had to diagnose the problem. We had to replace the queen and start over with that hive. They had to do math to know how long it would take for that hive to produce honey. They determined it is about six weeks behind the hive we robbed today.”

“When they begin selling their honey, we will work on marketing skills,” he said. “I think some of them will want to design their own labels, too, because they are artistic. We will work on accounting skills when they start using the club’s money to buy supplies.”

“We would be happy to use PRIDE grants to help more extension offices, conservation districts and schools follow Greg’s lead,” Wilson said.

To learn more about the PRIDE Environmental Education Grant Program, call the PRIDE office in Somerset at 888-577-4339 (toll free) or visit www.kypride.org.

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