Madi Palmer among Iowa 4-H Youth teaching about importance of pollination and native bees

Madi Palmer ...
Madi Palmer ...

Through the 2019 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (4-H AIE), local Iowa teens had the opportunity to teach and guide younger youth through the Native Bee Challenge to learn about how increasing habitat for native bees benefits the food supply and agriculture.

Madi Palmer, a 4-H teen from Waukon, was excited to participate in the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience because she is passionate about agriculture and understands that pollination is extremely important to the sustainability of the industry.

“I didn’t know a lot about native bees and realized that most of the public probably doesn’t either,” Palmer shared. “I wanted to be able to educate the public and let them know that bees aren’t just annoying little bugs. They actually are very important to the pollination of the plants that other farmers and I raise.”

As a teen leader, Palmer, helps teach the Native Bee Challenge curriculum to younger Iowa youth. Participants in the Native Bee Challenge work in teams to create a model that explores the process of pollination and its connections to the global food supply. Youth also discover ways to increase pollinator habitat and get to build their own bee nest to take home.

“One of the specific insights I have learned from 4-H, especially from the 4-H AIE Native Bee Challenge, is how important conservation programs and prairie strips are to the pollinators the agriculture industry relies on. If we save the bees and other pollinators, we will be able to produce more food to feed the world,” Palmer said.

Since 2014, more than 45,000 youth from across the U.S. have participated in more than 1000 domestic and global 4-H AIE events, led by 1057 trained teen leaders. The Native Bee Challenge took place March through July 2019 at various sites, including 4-H clubs, 4-H camps, school enrichment and 4-H afterschool settings.

The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience program is presented by National 4-H Council and BAYER to help develop critical workforce skills in young people and show that agriculture can be relevant and fun. Students in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska have had the opportunity to participate in the Native Bee Challenge throughout the spring and summer. Learn more about 4‑H at or through social media.

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