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It’s important for young people to get involved with bees

By Matthew McClellan

Rowan County 4-H agent

While usually I tell you about some history or upcoming program in the 4-H world, this time I’m going to write a little more subject-related. Let’s talk about bees.

There has been a lot of talk about bees the last few years. When I was an agent in Montana, bees were a very big topic as colony collapse disorder came in to the social conscience.  Bees are still a big topic and we need to realize just how vital a role that bees play in our everyday lives — no bees, no food.

Now, what do bees have to do with my role as a youth development educator? Lots, as it turns out.  North Carolina Cooperative Extension understands the role that bees play in the ecosystem and how important it is to relay that information to the public, youth included, and have several opportunities to learn about, take part in and spread awareness of the importance of bees.

One way that youth have to learn about and spread awareness about the importance of bees is through presentation and demonstration competitions. Presentations and demonstrations provide youth an outlet to research, analyze and present knowledge and skills relating to bees and beekeeping.

Another outlet for youth to delve into the world of bees and beekeeping is to apply for the Rowan County Bee Keepers Association apprentice program. Youth who are selected as beekeeping apprentices are equipped with all the gear to start a small apiary.

Youth in this program are also mentored by other beekeepers to help pass the knowledge along and to ensure that youth learn all the intricacies of maintaining bees. If you have a youth interested in learning about beekeeping, and would like to apply for the youth apprentice program through the Rowan County Bee Keepers Association, please contact our office for more information.

Rowan County 4-H has one youth who has taken these opportunities and begun his hobby in bee keeping — Christian Stebe.  Christian was selected as a youth apprentice by the Rowan County Bee Keepers Association last year and has just started this spring setting up his hives.

Christian has documented his journey into beekeeping through the 4-H presentations competitions and will compete next week at the South Central District Activity Day in Taylorsville for the opportunity to advance to the state 4-H presentations competition this summer in Raleigh.

As always, if you have any questions about the 4-H program here in Rowan County, please give me a call at the 4-H office 704-216-8970.

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