May 11, 2023-- First the governor's award, now the president's. High School North's Katie Culbert's latest scientific recognition is the President's Environmental Youth Award, from the Environmental Protection Agency. See below for the EPA's press release announcing the news, and congratulations, Katie!
With the honeybee population threatened by climate change, Kaitlyn—known as the “Bee Girl” at Toms River High School North in Toms River, New Jersey—decided to take matters into her own hands by studying and protecting honeybees as both a researcher and activist. In coordination with Rutgers and Stockton Universities, Katie implemented a scientific study of Varroa mites—the leading killer of honeybees—and is currently developing a regression analysis to predict Colony Collapse Disorder. Perhaps more importantly, Katie understands that research is useless unless put into action, so she has combined her work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) with local initiatives, collecting donations to create the 4-H Busy Bees Beekeeping Club. As a certified beekeeper herself, Kaitlyn leads the club by teaching young people about honeybees and how they can be protected. In coordination with club members, 4-H Teens, and the Master Gardeners, she also secured a 2,500-square-foot pollinator garden and maintains it for local honeybee health.
Kaitlyn understands the critical role honeybees play in our ecosystem, and her plans for pollinator protection has only just begun. She intends to build additional gardens for honeybees throughout Ocean County Park, and this year she will serve as the “New Jersey Honey Queen,” traveling around the state to educate the public on beekeeping and the honeybee industry. Thanks to efforts like hers, the threatened honeybee population has a chance to survive, and even thrive, in a climate-evolving world.