Posted by H.L. Shmencken
After falling to defeat at St. Lawrence University in the Liberty League Championship, many members of the Skidmore men's soccer team suddenly found themselves with a lot of free time. Thus, an announcement is expected to come from the men's soccer headquarters regarding their latest initiative: Save The Bees.
Rumors spread in the dining hall Sources close to the situation revealed to The Skidmore News that members of the men's soccer team have organized a tightly-knit coalition to raise awareness for one issue affecting us all: the extinction of bees.
Junior, Robert Smukler, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told The Skidmore News that the goal of the operation is to "stop the extinction of bees."
The announcement should come as no surprise: recently appointed head coach, Jeremiah Kneeland, has made it his personal mission to engender his players with a strong affection for wildlife and social action.
In August, Kneeland traveled to Nigeria to recruit prospective student-athletes and raise awareness for endangered Zebras as part of his latest campaign, Halting All Zebra Endangerment (also known as, "Operation: H.A.Z.E.").
Many members of the team have expressed moral outrage, as sophomore benchwarmer, Jessie Evensky, said in an interview with ESPN U, "I'm morally outraged."
Defender Mike Lemnios, also a sophomore, has been a hugely impactful bee activist since high school. He attributes his bee affection to a "powerful" documentary he watched several years ago.
Sophomore defender Andrew Pertsov is also an active member of the cause. Despite his passion for bees, he refused to comment in a phone interview, but did breathe into the receiver for long enough to fog up the The Skidmore News headquarters.
Senior, Andrew Blake tucked his chin into his left shoulder and lambasted apathetic students and offered a rallying cry, "I literally am not exaggerating when I tell you that bees just do so much for us."
Andrew's right: bees contribute to our society greatly. It's approximated that one-in-three bites of food would not be possible without bees and their pollinator powers. Moreover, they have a significant impact on our economy: more than $15 billion a year in U.S. crops are pollinated by bees" according to
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the nation's preeminent environmental advocacy groups.
In fact, beekeepers, such as David Hackenberg, who was featured in the 2009 film Vanishing of the Bees, have apiaries (a fancy word for bee farms) where they maintain 2400 active bee colonies, according to the Hackenberg Apiaries website.
Hackenberg and other beekeepers ship thousands of bees across the nation from Florida, to Calif., and then they ship the little guys to the east coast in time to for blueberry season in Maine and Cranberry season in Mass. After about six months, they drive the bees (via tractor trailer) back to Florida.
Bees are crucial to certain industries. According to the NRDC, "every year, California almond growers must import honey bees from other states to pollinate their $2.3-billion-a-year crop, using about half of all honey bees in the United States."
However, in 2006, many beekeepers across the nation experienced a mass disappearance of bees. Suddenly, bees were not returning to their hives, or were dying. The nation-wide phenomenon alarmed many beekeepers and stakeholders. Researchers and scientists have labeled the mysterious disappearance "Colony Collapse Disorder."
A report, released by NRDC, cited global warming, toxic pesticide use, habitat loss and parasites as possible causes of CCD. However, there is no consensus in the scientific community about why the mass disappearance is occurring. In one instance, a beekeeper checked on his beehives in the morning, only to find that all 3,000 of the bees inhabiting the hives had disappeared.
It's estimated that CCD has killed more than 10 million beehives in North America since 2007. According to U.S. News and World Report, academics are now identifying pernicious pesticides as the primary cause of colony collapse disorder.
If we don't start raising awareness and changing our ways, CCD may begin to sting us. As the bee population vanishes, food prices rise-so enjoy your $12 grapes, because that might be where we're headed.
For now, Skidmore Men's Soccer team is working their hardest to fight CCD and raise awareness. "We'll probably make some t-shirts on Fun Day," said freshman attacker Nick Masiero, who added, "but only after we finish cleaning the locker-room."
Correction Appended: November 15, 2013
In a previous version of this article, Alex Hodor-Lee, a senior defender, was listed as the Treasurer of the "Save the Bees" campaign. However, he has since been kicked out of the organization. Though, sources close to the situation suspect he may be reinstated.
Look out for more in our series of "Athletes doing good stuff"! Next week: "Men's LAX to Global Warming: Chill with that, Bro"