What does an apiculturist have to do with cuisine? If it’s Professor Marla Spivak, the connection is obvious…and critical. For many years, pollinating bee populations, crucial for regenerating alfalfa and many other crops, have suffered from pesticide use and sickness within their own colonies. Spivak’s work with honeybees and reducing disease and parasites is groundbreaking and could bring honeybee populations back up to normal levels. Her dedication to studying and breeding disease-resistant bees just yesterday brought her the prestigious Macarthur Foundation Award. The grant offers $500,000 to each of the 23 winners who exhibit creativity and genius in their field.
“Receiving the fellowship is awesome–it’s humbling,” Spivak says in a video on the MacArthur Foundation’s website. “I have lots of ideas and big visions that I would like to accomplish and I’ve been trying to get these things funded. Some of it is research and some of it is helping bees and beekeepers in really unusual ways. This gives me a huge opportunity to implement some of these ideas.”