It’s important to have a bee breed produced in the state that is locally-adapted to a particular area, Wells said. The project, underway since 2013, will take years to produce results, he added, but it’s worth it.
“I’m so excited about this,” Wells said.
At this stage, the foundation has invited organizations to be partners and seek grants to advance Ohio honey bee health. Plans could include installing a bee yard at Huffman Prairie at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said Darryn Warner, base Natural Resources Program Manager.
“We can provide a small parcel of land for them to do their field work,” he said.
Antioch College has an organic farm with bee hives that it uses to produce food for students, said Megan Rehberg, Foundation Relations Officer with the college. She’d welcome more hives at the farm. “It fits with our sustainability focus very well,” she said.
The exact amount to be spent by the foundation annually has not been determined, said Karen Levin, the foundation’s executive director. The foundation annually distributes about $1 million and has more than $20 million in assets.
It’s hoped that foundation and other grants from outside the community could also be tapped as the partner organizations finalize plans, Levin said.
Honey bee populations have been under siege in recent decades by a host of harmful factors, including new, powerful pesticides, bee pests and lack of balanced nutrition because of single-crop farming. Wells said.