Money for a new bee-research laboratory at the University of Florida is being raised to replace the current one on campus.
On March 17, Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2016-17 state budget, which includes $2 million for the new laboratory.
According to from the Florida State Beekeepers Association, UF will have to contribute $500,000 to the project, and the association will have to raise $200,000.
However, after the initial $200,000 is raised, the association must also raise $1.2 million to complete the estimated $3.7 million research and teaching complex.
“I don’t see any problems hitting the $200,000 mark that is required by the legislation,” said Tom Nolan, the association’s fundraising chairman. “I think to raise the extra million that it’s going to cost to finish the lab out, it’s going to take work, but I think we can get there for that.”
Nolan said this is the first time the association has attempted to raise this much money for a project and that it plans on asking individuals and businesses involved with beekeeping for donations.
Goals for the new lab include reducing colony loss rates and improving colony health along with proper training of future beekeepers and bee researchers, according to a news release.
“The new lab is critical to the future success in sustaining honey bee colonies and increasing our understanding of honey bee ecology, husbandry, conservation and integrated crop pollination,” Tony Hogg, the association’s president, said in the release. “We have the opportunity to create the premier honey bee research laboratory in the United States.”