Horn Receives National Award for Efforts to Raise Awareness of Importance of Pollination

Photo of Tammy Horn

Eastern Kentucky University apiculturist Dr. Tammy Horn has received a national award recognizing her efforts to raise awareness about the importance of pollination.

Horn, who serves with the Eastern Kentucky Environmental Research Institute at the University, will receive the 2010 Pollinator Advocate Award for the United States from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. The NACPC will present the award to Horn on Oct. 21 at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

According to Dr. Victoria Wojcik, associate program manager for Pollinator Partnership, “the award recognizes individuals or institutions who have contributed significantly to pollinator species protection and conservation, and/or to public education that result in increased awareness of the importance of pollination.” Up to five awards are given annually to worthy recipients in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

In nominating Horn, Dr. Alice Jones, director of the Environmental Research Institute, cited Horn’s groundbreaking work in Appalachian coal country with apiforestation – the practice of reclaiming coal mine lands by planting trees, shrubs and other vegetation and establishing healthy working beeyards.

Since Coal Country Beeworks was established in 2007, Horn has, among other work:

·        worked with four different coal companies to establish nearly 100 hives on reclaimed coal mines in association with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and the planting of more than 100,000 trees on those sites.

·        held quarterly introductory beekeeping workshops across Eastern Kentucky that have trained dozens of new and beginning beekeepers.

·        worked with two different seed companies to  develop a specialized apiforestation and reclamation planting mix that includes sourwood, basswood, and flowering clover.

·        collaborated with the West Virginia Labor Department to develop a worker retraining program to retrain out-of-work coal miners as commercial beekeepers.

·        worked to have EKU named as Kentucky’s first “Pollinator-Friendly Campus” (which will happen in Spring 2011).

·        become a regular in-demand speaker at garden clubs, extension offices, and community groups throughout the region.

·       brought national attention to apiforestation and to EKU through several articles in the New York Times, National Public Radio, and other news outlets.

Horn’s work has also encompassed more and more children, teens and college students. At the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester, approximately 80 EKU freshmen bottled honey and helped to build beehives as part of a freshman orientation service-learning project.

One of those EKU students to benefit directly from Horn’s expertise and passion is junior horticulture major Nan Campbell, who serves as an assistant beekeeper.

“When I contacted Tammy a year ago, I was a clueless college student who wanted to learn about bees,” Campbell said. “(Dr. Horn) was immediately willing to take me under her wing. Through her, I have been able to work on a NASA research project that studies bees, bloom cycles, and climate change. I look to her as a role model for the kind of pollinator advocate I would like to become.”

Campbell also said Horn’s “ability to work with coal mine companies in a non-threatening and constructive way has opened many doors. Because of her courage, pollinator species are being planted, bees are being kept, and students are researching on the coal mines of Kentucky.”

The author of “Bees in America: How the Honeybee Shaped A Nation” and the soon-to-be-published “Piping Up: A History of Women and Bees,” Horn is a contributor to a New York Times blog on bees (http://www.nytimes.com/info/bees).

For more information about Coal Country Beeworks, visit www.eri.eku.edu/honey.php.

Published on September 28, 2010