Hawkins FFA’s beekeeping program named among national finalists for major grant

Local News

Beekeeper Francesco Capoano holds a frame at an apiary in Milan, Italy, Thursday, April 22, 2021. A bee collective is introducing 17 new colonies to their new hives on Earth Day, bringing to 1 million Milan’s population of honey bees housed in boxes specially designed by artists throughout the city. The seven-year-old project is aimed at educating the public about the importance of bees to the environment, while boosting their population and providing a sweet treat of honey. It is billed as the biggest urban bee collective in Europe. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

HAWKINS, Texas (KETK) — Hawkins ISD announced Friday that its beekeeping program was selected to be a national finalist for a $30,000 grant from the Garden Club of North America.

As finalists, the beekeeping program, also known as 4G Honey after the four girls who started the program, are automatically guaranteed a grant of $10,000 and could receive up to $30,000 should they win the competition. The winner is set to be announced in April. According to Byrd, the grant money will be used to purchase new extraction and bottling equipment.

The Agricultural Department at Hawkins High School has also gained partnerships with Ozarka Bottled Water Company and the Garden Club of Tyler, both of which are responsible for the acquisition of this grant. Hawkins Agricultural Science teacher Matt Byrd said that these two partners were the ones to apply for the grant for the program, and that they were the ones to inform the school that they qualified as finalists.

4G Honey isn’t just receiving this grant, however. Byrd said that the community passed a bond worth $6 million last May that will fund an Agricultural Science Center and Livestock Center. Additionally, part of the bond money will be used to build a new Honey Processing facility that will be included in the new building.

On top of all of these tremendous achievements, Hawkins ISD Superintendents Susan Morton and Stephanie McConnel have drafted and submitted curriculum for a beekeeping course to the state for approval. In the event of the curriculum’s passage, schools all across Texas will be able to add it to their own curriculum and receive funding for it.

This isn’t the first time the program has garnered national attention. In fact, their program was featured on NBC’s ‘The Today Show’ in 2019.

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