Posted: December 5, 2019

Finian Stroup has been dedicated to helping save the bees since she was 8 years old. Over the years, she has organized numerous events to raise awareness about bee declines.

This Fall, at the Frostburg State University Appalachian Festival, Finian also raised more than $1,000 to donate to the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State. "I wanted to educate others on the fact that honey bees are amazingly beneficial to our society, and they are dying out at an absolutely alarming rate," Finian said.

The Frostburg State University Appalachian Festival is an annual event with films, music, workshops, and other activities. At her booth, Finian displayed information on the importance of honey bees, their biology and factors contributing to their decline. With the help of friends and family, she made and sold bee-related products and passed out informational pamphlets. Along with samples of honey and bee-collected pollen, a local beekeeper provided an observation hive, allowing participants to get up close and personal with the winged wonders responsible for a significant portion of our food production. It is estimated that three-quarters of major U.S. crops use bees and other insects for pollination, to set seed and fruit. However, in recent years beekeepers have experienced high mortality of their honey bee colonies, due to multiple stressors such as pathogens, pests, poor nutrition and pesticides, which Finian highlighted at her booth.

Finian's booth was widely visited by festival attendees and raised $1,045, which she has graciously donated to Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research. "Previously, the Center has provided guidance to me and continues to be supportive of my efforts to raise awareness for the honey bees," she said. More information on the Center's efforts to protect pollinators can be found on their website. Finian also gave a speech at the festival and answered questions from the audience with a local honey bee expert, Ben Cooper. Finian's efforts reached many people, and she received positive feedback from a dean of Frostburg State University as well as members of her school, Royal Academy Education.

"The booth was a truly amazing experience for me to have. I loved being able to raise awareness for the honey bees, but it also made me feel very responsible and taught me that if you are sincerely passionate about something, you can accomplish many great things," she said.

By Chauncy Hinshaw