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President Obama to Host 5th White House Science Fair, NC’s “Bee Aware” Team to Attend

On Monday, March 23rd, the President will host the 5th White House Science Fair, celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across America. The President will also announce new steps as part of his Educate to Innovate campaign to get more girls and boys, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, inspired and prepared to excel in the critical STEM fields. Building on these announcements, this year’s White House Science Fair will include a focus on diversity and inclusion in STEM.

The President hosted the first-ever White House Science Fair in 2010, noting then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you”re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

The “Bee Aware” team from North Carolina is working to help revitalize honey bee populations and to inform the public and businesses about the harmful effects of specific chemicals on honey bee populations and the harmful ramifications to human, animal, and plant life. In 2014, students Claudia Button, Nathan Button, Kate Fitzpatrick and Maria Melissaris devised a plan to draw attention to the importance of honeybees, whose pollination is critical to food production. They wanted to highlight how the insecticides, herbicides and fungicides used each year by homeowners disrupt the bees’ lives and have contributed to a dramatic decline in bee populations worldwide.

As part of their project, the group has presented to local garden clubs, Christmas tree farms, businesses, visitors, and tourists about honeybee science. They’ve also presented scientific information about honeybees to school across the region, educating more than a thousand High Country elementary schoolers on the importance of honeybees and what can be done to protect them. The Bee Award Team was awarded the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant for their project, which will include the opening of a bee sanctuary in their community this spring.

To learn more about the project, visit www.beeawarenc.org.