The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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- December 1, 2020 - Samantha Murray

October 12, 2020 – University of Florida

Recognizing visionary leadership and diversity in educational programming, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) announced that Jamie Ellis of the University of Florida will receive the 2020 Excellence in Extension Award.

USDA-NIFA and Cooperative Extension have sponsored the awards since 1991. The awards will be presented virtually on October 28.

“Each year, these awards showcase the fundamental, transformative difference Cooperative Extension continues to make in our society,” said NIFA Acting Director Parag Chitnis. “Excellent programs like these are a testament to the true value of Cooperative Extension capacity funds more than a century after the Smith-Lever Act created this unparalleled system of outreach and education that enriches every community across the nation.”

“This year’s National Cooperative Extension Award winners demonstrate educational excellence,” said Mark Latimore, Jr., associate dean and administrator for Extension, Fort Valley State University, and chair of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy. “They stand as a powerful example of the impact of Cooperative Extension to address real-world problems in communities across the country.”

The Excellence in Extension Award is given annually to one Cooperative Extension professional who excels at programming, provides visionary leadership and makes a positive impact on constituents served.

Jamie Ellis is the director of the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory, as well as a professor and Extension specialist the UF/IFAS department of entomology and nematology.

The laboratory’s mission is to advance the understanding of honey bees in Florida, the U.S. and globally, with the goal of improving the health and productivity of honey bee colonies everywhere. Ellis advances this mission through basic and applied research with managed and wild honey bees, communicating his findings to assorted clientele groups through diverse Extension programming, and training future generations of bee educators, researchers and conservationists. His work has contributed to a four-fold increase in the number of managed honey bee colonies and a five-fold increase in the number of beekeepers in Florida.

“Dr. Ellis is a model for faculty not just at our university but within the land-grant system and across the world,” said Nick Place, dean of UF/IFAS Extension. “He is the go-to person for all things honey bees. Dr. Ellis has gained national and international recognition for his innovative Extension programming, which has allowed beekeepers and other stakeholders to adopt science-based practices that improve the health and productivity of honey bee colonies. Dr. Ellis’ program has also increased the public’s awareness about the importance of honey bees within the food system and how all of us can support pollinators.”

Ellis said he was honored to receive the award.

“Successful Extension programming is always the result of the investment of many people. I am grateful to my UF/IFAS colleagues, my collaborators, and the beekeepers we serve. I am excited that our efforts are making a lasting impact in the communities we support,” Ellis said.