‘Bee’ the Change: Emily’s Mission to Save Mason Bees

Brooke ConnerOur Town Teens

When a Girl Scout recites the Promise and Law, she vows to be friendly and helpful, responsible and respectful, use resources wisely, and make the world a better place! Emily Huffstetler, a high school senior, is on a mission to save the dwindling bee population.


Five years ago, Emily’s family built a Mason Bee house, which started her on a journey of educating herself and others about the species. Mason bees are unique in that they are solitary, do not sting or are prone to diseases, and are very effective pollinators. She was stunned to learn that last year alone, there was a 33 percent depletion in the bee population. She decided to be part of changing that statistic and focused her Girl Scout Gold Award toward that mission.

Emily Huffstetler

Emily now holds workshops in which she brings mugs and straws made from recycled materials and assists her community in building their own mini Mason Bee houses. The bees lay their eggs in the tiny compartments. These sustainable bee houses continue to support the bees forever and without maintenance. So far, she has taught hundreds of individuals about Mason Bees. In addition, she developed an informational website and Instagram, @buildforbees, to educate the public.

After applying for and receiving the Joyce Maienschein Leadership Grant, she used the fund to go towards supplies – like lumber to build longer lasting bee houses which she will distribute locally.

By partnering with local beekeepers and organizations to gain expert knowledge to teach others, Emily says she’s gained better people skills and has become a more confident communicator through this Gold Award project.

“Because of Girl Scouts,” said Emily, “I have been able to experiment with different things and gain leadership positions that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity.”

Learn about Girl Scout High Awards and how they can set girls up for a lifetime of success.

Brooke Conner is social media and content coordinator for Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians.

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