The History of National Honey Bee Day
National Honey Bee Day is a holiday that many individuals may not be aware of that has a huge impact on the beekeeping community. This national awareness day, started in 2009, began as a grassroots movement to build active community awareness around the beekeeping industry through promotion and education. Over the years, National Honey Bee Day has grown to incorporate many different beekeeping organizations including associations, individual programs, and beekeeping clubs.
National Honey Bee Day – The Beginning
The first instance of National Honey Bee Day was held on August 22, 2009. This program began as a concept that was directed solely toward bee keeping associations, but once the numerous other beekeeping industry entities and clubs were discovered, it quickly grew into something much more. Within a few short months of beginning the National Honey Bee Day campaign, the organization responsible for its inception was involved with 41 different organizations across a span of almost 16 states.
Honey Bee Day was first nationally recognized by Thomas J. Vilsek, then Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, on August 11, 2009. A number of individuals within the beekeeping community were responsible for securing this recognition, including Tina and Zeph Bowen from Indiana and Chappie McChesney from Florida. These individuals, along with other active members of the community, were responsible for the holiday being nationally recognized by the Department of Agriculture.
National Honey Bee Day Becomes a Non-Profit
The year 2010 brought many changes to the National Honey Bee Day program, including being recognized as a non-profit organization. Prior to this, National Honey Bee Day had a difficult time securing the funding for the program. In 2010, Pennsylvania Apiculture, Inc. was created and organizers filed the 501c status for the organization. Being recognized as a non-profit allows National Honey Bee Day to be more creative, flexible and dynamic with their program year after year.
National Honey Bee Day Today
The 2015 program slogan for National Honey Bee Day (August 22, 2015) is “Ban Ignorance, Not Honey Bees.” This message embodies what National Honey Bee Day holds as part of its core values – to help educate the public as a whole about the benefits of bees and beekeeping in order to combat the many areas of the country that ban beekeeping as an agricultural practice. National Honey Bee Day and the many organizations that support them hope to increase the awareness and education about beekeeping nationwide.