The following was presented at the 2010 American Bee Research Conference in Orlando, FL.
37. Wilson, M.E., J. Skinner, K.S. Delaplane & J. Pettis – BEE HEALTH @ EXTENSION.ORG: A WEB PLATFORM FOR THTE CREATION AND DISSEMINATION OF SCIENCE-BASED RECOMMENDATIONS – Members of the bee research and extension community are using a new toolkit and strategy in the outreach component of research and extension projects, which includes a website at www.extension.org/bee_health. This website is part of the larger eXtension.org non-profit organization, created out of the desire to transform the Cooperative Extension System through information technology. Bee research and extension personnel became involved with this initiative out of the need to deliver objective, research-based, and credible information to the general public. Two grant programs are responsible to create a “Community of Practice” and deliver specific objective outcomes from their research programs. The USDA-ARS Areawide Program and the Managed Pollinator CAP have pooled resources to create the “Bee Health” community, while many other research and extension professionals have joined the initiative. Currently there are 65 members who specialize in honey bees and native bees. Members from state and federal programs are encouraged to integrate eXtension.org into future grant programs to make this effort sustainable and to build a long lasting knowledge base about bees. Organizational structures such as the American Association of Professional of Apiculturists, USDA-ARS bee labs, the NC1173 (formerly NC508), and the Apiary Inspectors of America have been integral in conducting research around bee decline. Organizing outreach programs under the umbrella of eXtension.org continues this efficient, collaborative strategy into knowledge delivery.
Numerous tools are offered by eXtension.org to their communities, including integration of the site within Google Analytics. This offers the ability to track which pages are the most successful and better focus our efforts to increase access to our information. Tools outside of eXtension.org are used by the community to make sure content is more accessible by the public, such as the new YouTube Channel for Bee Health at www.youtube.com/BeeHealth. Other features on the main site include news, events, and over 114 articles such as: monthly updates from the Managed Pollinator CAP, other research updates, and topics in honey bee anatomy, biology, and disease. FAQs address 120 common questions about bees. These products are an excellent start to the initiative and speak well for the potential that this project has for making accurate knowledge more accessible and sustainable practices for bee management more feasible.
More presentations from this conference can be found at Proceedings of the American Bee Research Conference 2010