Gretchen Heine, Pollination Planet

Growing up on a farm in Central Oregon, Gretchen Heine was close to nature, to her food and to the bees who visited her family’s farm.

Now, with her Colorado-based organization Pollination Planet, she wants to spread that feeling of connection and her passion for pollinators to children who may not have grown up with that unique experience.

I am passionate about educating people about the importance of pollinators and their connection to our food supply while also providing them with tools to protect this valuable species,” Gretchen said. “I truly believe that creating that hands-on connection for kids will have a lasting impact on our entire ecosystem.”

Gretchen plans to educate 300 Louisville, Colo. second graders in the classroom and bring them on a farm tour, where they can learn about bees in hands-on lessons. The students will also receive already constructed mason bee habitat boxes, which they can place in their backyards.

For more information on Pollination Planet, visit their website and their Twitter page.

GRANT AWARD DATE: May 14, 2014