BEEducated is a youth-driven organization combating the harmful environmental and economic effects of Colony Collapse Disorder on our bees.
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Phone Number: (425) 499-9225
Mailing address: Sammamish, WA 98074
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Download our app from the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_adirag17.BEEducated3&hl=en_US. We have been featured as a Presidential Environmental Youth Award winner, previous Ashoka x GM STEM for Changemaking Challenge Winner, and a Cox Conserves award winner. Link to our Selfie Pitch Video should it not show up: https://youtu.be/-8J2JQo0hkc
Date You Started Your Project Started
August 18, 2017
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Bees pollinate 71 of the top 100 food crops, providing 90% of the world’s food, and producing a crop value of $15 billion in the United States alone. However, the bee population has declined by 3.5 million since 1947 due to habitat loss, climate change, and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). If bees continue to disappear, people employed by the agricultural sector will experience huge business losses and consumers will face increasing food prices.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
In order to combat CCD and effectively catalyze a resurgence in bee numbers, my team and I formed a three-pronged approach. The first step is to gather congressional support to fund pollinator research. In doing so, we hope to provide crucial data findings for the Machine Learning researchers we work with. The next step would be to disseminate bee-friendly garden kits to communities across the country, and possibly the world (especially in the highest at-risk areas for bee population decline). Not only can we aid people with the right resources to provide a safe-haven for bees, but the communities can document photos and submit data points to our research teams through an upcoming version of our app. Finally, we plan to equip beekeepers with Raspberry Pi 3 computers that run an algorithm that utilizes Computer Vision to track physical changes in the hive/bees as possible indicators for CCD. With this final piece, we hope to improve ML models and promote bee health such that beekeepers can intervene in their hives before the onset of CCD. We previously also raised awareness about the pollinator crisis though our app (built in part with MIT) and outreach at schools and conferences.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
Growing up, I would make homemade terrariums out of old spinach boxes. One day, I left the plastic container, complete with handfuls of soil, uprooted moss, and pebbles that I had filled it with earlier that day, in the backyard overnight. When I returned, I was amazed to see how many new critters had inhabited my makeshift home. Expanding on this realization, I joined environmental groups working to make our world a more inhabitable place for our wildlife. After returning from an environmental meet, I read an article about the greatest environmental crises our world was facing. One headline jumped out. It was about the implications of the pollinator decline in an impending food security crisis. Perhaps most shocking was the lack of media coverage and general cognizance surrounding it. I am part of the generation that will be inhabiting this earth, and I refuse to neglect this issue.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
I am stepping up to make change, because I refuse to let the impending food security crisis consume my future. Colony Collapse Disorder is ravaging honeybee populations, to the point of 50-90% hive loss in the United States alone. And it’s not just bees. Moths, butterflies, bats, and birds are all crucial to the pollinator community, and all victims of the ensuing population declination crisis. This message isn’t meant to make you lose hope, rather, to motivate you. This, is a call to action.
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
We often receive requests from various environmental organizations to speak at conferences. Earlier in the year, I was asked to speak at the Seattle Garden Learning Network hosted by “Tilth Alliance,” which is a nonprofit organic gardening and urban ecology organization. I spoke with various educators and students from low-income communities in South Seattle looking for free resources that would help enhance the educational experience for their students in the garden. I was able to share our app with them as a resource they could use in the classroom to help engage their students in a fun learning manner. We’ve inspired a new generation of pollinator caretakers who are driving change in their own school communities through new pollinator gardens that will attract thousands of pollinators, a first for many of the school districts we work with. We plan to expand on our school outreach.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
While other environmental nonprofits focus on solving one area of the problem, whether it's awareness, education, or technology for social good, we implement all three and more into our organization. We ensure that an impact is made by assisting schools throughout the entire process, from the app to our self-developed curriculum on sustainable pollinator gardens. Finally, we also address equity within our efforts; our plans include reaching countries experiencing instability to provide these gardening kits as a way of alleviation. Thus, we are proof of the power in a youth-driven initiative.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
BEEducated has affected change for thousands of students in 8 schools in 4 major school districts across our state by providing the necessary tools for stopping the bee crisis. Through our partnership with the King Country Green Schools Program, our pollinator gardening guide is being used across our county in an estimated 521 schools. Our app has also received over 300 downloads nationwide and a reach of 700 donors, leaving a measured impact of over 1,000 people worldwide. Beyond the numbers, we have encouraged the development of student interest in the environmental sciences through our app and kits, bringing about a renewed awareness surrounding pollinator health. Often times we gauge the level of understanding our presentations induce with pre/post surveys. Moving forward, we plan to expand and divide into a resources, media, and research team that will target global communities.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
We recently raised over $20,000 in funding for our research proposal. This money will enable us to purchase the necessary supplies for our physical pollinator garden kits and technology infrastructure. Our recent partnership with Coding It Forward has allowed us to set the groundwork for gathering congressional support. We are also becoming a 501(c)(3) organization such that we can solicit donations from our community and beyond. As a third of our team is seniors, we will be conducting team applications to extend the representation on our team to other marginalized voices. We firmly believe that the key to stopping the pollinator crisis is not simply gardens, but concentrated efforts in research and education around the world.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Donations between $1k-$5k
Donations over $10k
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