According to bee experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, a third of the world’s food production depends on bees. Honey bees are critical to the survival of many plants, animals, and of course, humans. That’s why, for the second consecutive year, FirstBank partnered with Project Apis m. (PAm), to help improve honey bee health.

We sat down with Sara Brown, Development Director with Project Apis m., to discuss the impact we can make together. 

How does Project Apis m. measure its impact on the environment and communities it serves? 

We’ve invested over $3 million in bee forage programs, including funding the planting of over 76,000 acres of cover-crops in orchards, vineyards and bee yards across California. We’ve also funded over $12 million in practical honey bee research and projects, maximizing our position to connect the research with the beekeeping industry and bring actionable choices to beekeepers.

We are funding a project at the Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research Unit, that helps design and evaluate drought-tolerant plantings as bee pasture. These plants require no irrigation, help mitigate erosion, and convert drought-stricken lands into sustained pollinator forage and habitat. It will also conserve soil and water, which could not be more critical for navigating climate change.

Can you discuss the Go Green campaign and your partnership with FirstBank? How does collaborating with businesses impact your success?

FirstBank’s Go Green campaign* and partnership are immensely helpful. The attention and increased awareness of our impact on keeping bees healthy are at the heart of securing a diverse food supply. Honey bees are a collaborative example of leveraging our resources for the best possible outcome. FirstBank and its customers’ fuel essential programs that give our powerhouse pollinators a fighting chance against current and emerging threats.

How does your organization prioritize its projects and initiatives?

The decision-makers at PAm are operators, influencers, and commercial beekeepers. Our priorities are beekeeper priorities, ensuring our projects are practical and actionable. 

For example, in a global economy with a warming climate, there is an increasing need to monitor and prepare for the introduction of invasive pests. Just in the last two years, the Northern Giant hornet and the Yellow-Legged hornet, two wasps that target and kill honey bee colonies, have been introduced to the U.S. We are proactive with increased investment in helping beekeepers prepare for emerging pests of great concern through training and funding research on solutions. 

In what ways does your nonprofit engage with the local community in Colorado, Arizona, and California to promote environmental awareness and action?

We support bee research in all three states and are heavily invested in California’s Central Valley through our Seeds for Bees® Program. Seeds for Bees® encourages the adoption of cover crops to provide forage for bees in California orchards and beyond – all while improving soil health, benefiting farmers, and promoting sustainable farming practices.

How can people get involved with Project Apis m.? Or make a positive environmental impact?

Choose pollinator-friendly plants for your landscaping. Support local beekeepers and honey producers by buying local honey and hive products. Support responsible businesses and brands, like FirstBank, and participate in their environmental campaigns to support healthy pollinators.

We encourage any individual, business, or organization that values a diverse and nutritious food supply to support the science-backed programs of Project Apis m. to increase honey bee health and vitality. You can learn more on our website,

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*FirstBank will donate $4 per FirstBank checking account opened online or in-person, up to $60,000, towards One Tree Planted, Project Apis m. and Western Resource Advocates. Offer is available to new and existing customers. Offer is only valid from June 1, 2024, through August 30, 2024.

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