The Florida State Beekeepers Association has successfully raised $200,000 to fund an international bee research lab at the University of Florida.
Officials from the the organization told WJCT last April they would need to raise their own money in order for the $2 million in state money and $500,000 from UF to kick in and the project to get started.
“Right now we have $2.7 million for the lab. We are still looking to raise another additional million to finish everything we had been planning,” said Mary Bammer with UF’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab. She added, the additional $1 million will not impact the progress of the current project, and the planning process for the new lab is already underway.
UF intends to use the extra money to implement new educational programming. The funding will also contribute to ongoing beekeeper training and coursework for UF students who are interested in entering the field. Once the first building is finished, the next goal will be a second building used for that instruction.
“As additional funds come in then we’ll be able to start the secondary building which has more of the teaching and extension aspects to it,” Bammer said.
Research shows bees are responsible for pollinating nearly a quarter of the food eaten by humans, but they are dying at alarming rates. This lab will bring scientists from all over the world to help in the fight against pollinator extinction.
Construction for the new research facility will begin this summer.
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