Georgia beekeeper Paul Vonk has won the third annual Bayer CropScience Bee Care Community Leadership Award. Paul has worked to improve pollinator health by educating the beekeeping community using HiveTool™. His open source software provides a noninvasive way to analyze colony health. The system motors bees and allows keepers to manage hives with real time feedback on conditions. The data is also tramsitted to NASA to study how bees are impacted by land use and climate change.
The $5,000 grant is sponsored by the Bayer CropSience’s Bee Care Program. The annual even recognizes an idividual who uses their commitment to honeybees to benefit the community.
Paul Vonk has made HiveTool the centerpiece of his work with a local school as well as regional beekeepers, sharing his passion and enthusiasm for beekeeping with students who previously had never worked with pollinators. The HiveTool system has attracted students to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields by allowing the students to work with bees and learn more about bee health and beekeeping.
“Paul’s efforts to improve his community by educating beekeepers and students through HiveTool are remarkable,” said Dr. Becky Langer, director of the North American Bayer Bee Care Program. “We are thrilled to present the award to a beekeeper who has taken such an innovative and creative approach to beekeeping and improving bee health. His efforts to provide beekeepers and students the tools they need to improve their craft and learn more about beekeeping reflects the commitment of the Bayer Bee Care Program to improving pollinator health.”
The record-breaking number of 2015 Award applications were judged by a four-person independent panel of industry and academic experts that included Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine, Elina Lastro Nino, researcher at UC-Davis Department of Entomology, Tim Tucker, president of American Beekeeping Federation as well as Dr. Langer. This year’s applications represented a wide range of projects that will have a long-lasting and positive impact on bee health.
“It is truly an honor to be chosen the winner of the 2015 Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award,” said Vonk. “With Bayer’s recognition and contribution, even more students and beekeepers will be able to learn about HiveTool and how it can be used to improve pollinator health.”