Local couple raising awareness of problems facing bee population
Published August 24, 2016
BY JAMES LAWSON email@example.com
Joe and Kathy Madrigrano stand in front of a barn at Gateway Technical College\’s Center for Sustainable Living Foundation. The Kenosha philanthropists have donated $20,000 to the center to raise awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder, which has significantly reduced the bee population.
Local philanthropists Kathy and Joseph Madrigrano Jr., concerned over the dwindling number of bees, have donated funds to Gateway Technical College to develop programs that promote awareness of the problem.
The $20,000 donation is to fund activities and programs at the Kathy & Joseph Madrigrano Jr. Center for Sustainable Living.
The money will help fund signs, the planting of bee-friendly gardens and development of an educational curriculum designed to inform the public about colony collapse disorder, which is reducing the number of bees that pollinate flowering plants.
Additionally, the Madrigranos have established an $25,000-a-year matching grant program whereby the additional funds will be used to support bee and environmental awareness programming.
Barn upgrades, bee mural
A mural has already been put in place on the side of a barn on the center’s grounds.
“Thanks to Joe and Kathy Madrigrano, we were able to finish the barn at the Center for Sustainable Living, which entailed adding insulation and wood paneling on the interior,” said program manager Kallie Johnson. “It is now a beautiful space to conduct activities, and its focus will be around bees.”
She added, “A fantastic mural about bees was painted on the side of the barn by local artist Estudio Aurora, and the interior is getting some displays about bees.:
“The Center for Sustainable Living will also have a program for K-12 students specifically about bees and pollination to go along with the barn. The grand opening of the Bee Barn is planned for Sept. 12, and it will be open for K-12 school groups to visit after that.”
Scientists say CCD occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen.
Joseph Madrigrano said the problem is becoming an acute one that will have an overall impact on the environment. He believes people should take note and get on the bandwagon to help promote sustainability.
While CCD has had an impact on the bee population, scientists also attribute increased losses to pesticides, an invasive mite, parasites and changes in the habitat where bees forage.
Shortages of bees have become an economic issue, especially for farmers who need bees and other insects to pollinate crops. The shortage also has increased costs for farmers who have to rent pollination services.