Tuesday, 22 December 2009

CATCH THE BUZZ - Write In For A Langstroth Stamp



Langstroth's 200th Birthday- A Science Celebration

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Two hundred years after his birth in 1810, Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, known as the “Father of American Beekeeping," will be honored, thanks, in part to the growing buzz of the sustainability movement. Langstroth's discovery of "bee space" and his invention of the movable-frame honey bee hive will be celebrated with a national network of exhibits, workshops and seminars and, with your help, perhaps a commemorative

U.S. postage stamp as well. Langstroth was employed as a tutor, a minister and a schoolmaster in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in the 1830s and 1840s. Fascinated by their honeycomb, he began his beekeeping hobby with "two stocks of bees in common box hives." Before long he was exploring

the subject of beekeeping in depth. He observed his bees and sought to understand their ways in order to build better hive boxes which would allow him to combat the destructive wax moths, and collect surplus honey without harming the bees or damaging their wonderful honey comb.

 This is the essence of the scientific method. Those who might think that Langstroth was an unlikely scientist would be misunderstanding the role of science in our lives. The scientific method involves experiencing the world in which we live, responding to the curiosity that naturally resides inside us, devising a method of observing and recording, testing and confirming

our expectations, and evaluating the results we achieve. It is available and valuable to each and every one of us, just as it was to Langstroth. In the words of Thomas D. Seeley, Ph.D., Professor of Biology at Cornell University’s Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, “Without Langstroth's invention of the movable-frame hive, I'm sure that the honey bee would not have become the best studied insect on the planet.”

 Langstroth’s efforts gave us a way to raise large quantities of bees, keep them healthy and collect their honey in a truly sustainable way, without destroying their home. We all owe him a debt and the year 2010, his 200th birthday year is a great time to start repaying that debt in ways that benefit us all.

 The Down to Earth Project of the Science Friday Initiative • 4 West 43rd Street, NY, NY 10036

Step One in repaying our debt to Langstroth will be the study and appreciation of his efforts and what those efforts have yielded. Throughout the year 2010, the Down to Earth Program will be developing and coordinating a network of national workshops, exhibits and gatherings to teach and learn about the considerable science connected with the honey bee. There is so much more to what we will be doing in the next year to celebrate Langstroth's birthday, which I will describe at a later date. But I don't want to conclude this introduction before explaining Step Two.

 Step Two in repaying the debt we owe Langstroth would be to convince the U.S. Postal Service that we all deserve a commemorative postage stamp created in honor of his 200th birthday. It is my hope that the beekeeping community, anyone who enjoys honey, and everyone who appreciates all the foods we eat which would not be available without the work of the honey bee, will write a letter or sign a petition encouraging the U.S. Postal Service to honor Langstroth in this way at this special time.

Please spread the word. A flood of letters is necessary to convince the Postal Service how important Langstroth is to Americans across the country, and how a commemorative stamp would help him achieve the recognition he has so far been denied. The stamp is especially important at a time when honeybees are threatened by colony collapse disorder, and people all over the country, even in urban areas, are helping out by embracing beekeeping. Get everyone you know on board the postage stamp campaign, and have them tell their friends.

 The U.S. Postal Service Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee meets in January 2010, so please write a letter today. We need a pile of letters waiting for them when they arrive at their meeting. Letters sent directly to the Postal Service will be most effective. Below, please find the address to which people should send those letters. For those wishing to include their names on petitions which I will be preparing and submitting, as well as anyone who wishes to let me know they support this project, please send an email to me at LLL200@scifri.org and include your Zip Code so that we may know the breadth of our support. Or Write To: Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee c/o Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service 1735 North Lynn St., Suite 5013Arlington, VA 22209-6432

 The Down to Earth Project of the Science Friday Initiative • 4 West 43rd Street, NY, NY 10036

This message brought to you by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping. Watch this space, our web page, Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, and thedailygreen.com for registration information on our upcoming webinar on Urban Beekeeping.

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