Extension office buzzing about competitive grants

PUEBLO – The Pueblo Board of County Commissioners is all-a-buzz after being notified that the Pueblo County CSU-Extension Office was awarded two highly competitive and highly sought after grants. The grants, totaling $32,500, will be used to create the Pueblo County Bee Wise Program. The Bee Wise program will include hands-on educational programs for youth and adults to promote a healthy bee population as well as to create smart-hives, which are bee hives with sensors that monitor bee and hive health.

Pueblo County Extension Agent Jane Crayton is the Queen Bee of the Pueblo County Bee Wise Program. Crayton can be credited for bringing in the $32,500 in funding that is making the Pueblo County Bee Wise Program flourish.
Crayton received a $2,500 from the Colorado Corn Grant from the Colorado 4-H Foundation. Crayton also received the eXtension Innovation Grant for the Colorado 4-H Foundation in the amount of $30,000. Crayton’s application was one of only five selected for an award out of more than 90 proposals.
With agriculture being one of Pueblo’s main industries, Pueblo’s economy and culture is highly dependent on animal pollinators. With recent diminished pollination activity worldwide and locally, creating healthy habitats for animal pollinators such as bats, butterflies, hummingbirds and of course bees, is paramount in protecting Pueblo’s future.
The Bee Wise Program will help promote animal pollinators by creating the Bee Wise Summer camp and the Pollinator Maker Workshop series, which are both hands-on programs that teach how to create healthy animal pollinator habitats. The Bee Wise Program will also use some of the grant funding to strategically place smart-hives in the Pueblo community. The smart-hives will use sensors to monitor the hives’ humidity, temperature, weight, activity as well as overall bee and hive health. The public will be able to interact with the smart-hives using an iPad Kiosk or the Internet. The data collected from the smart-hives will also be reported to local and national bee health registries.
The Bee Wise Program will kick-off with a special Earth Day Event, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 22, at the Pueblo Zoo called, Plant, Grow, Fly. Colorado State Representative Daneya Esgar along with Pueblo County dignitaries will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the zoo’s pollination garden and a bee wall, which was created by the Pueblo County CSU-Extension Office and donated to the zoo. There will also be kid-friendly activities such as dress like a beekeeper, navigate like a bee, and other bee games. The Pueblo Zoo will be running a special for the event. Any Pueblo Zoo guest 18-years-old or younger will receive $2 off gate admission during the event from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Registration for the Bee Wise Youth Summer Camp opens on May 1. The five-day sessions, for youth ages 8 to 13, will be held once a month in June, July and August at the Pueblo Zoo. The Bee Wise Programs Pollinator Maker Workshop series begins in May and will teach adults how to create a new pollinator habitat each month including humming bird feeders, a native bee hotel, butterfly feeder and bat habitats.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Bee Wise Program can call the Pueblo County CSU-Extension Office at 719-583-6566.
CONTACT:                 For more information please contact Paris Carmichael, Pueblo County Community Information Manager at carmichp@pueblocounty.us
or 719-252-8550.