OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Saving the bee starts from the ground up. At Two Rivers State Park Matt Miller leads a group of middle school students as they plant native grasses and flowers in an open patch of ground.
For years, bee and butterfly habitats have dwindled as humans develop land for farming and housing.
“We're in return losing important habitat,” explains Miller. “And if you put that on a global basis you're going to lose that many more pollinators in a trickledown effect.”
The USDA now estimates about one third of honey bees die too soon. In 2016, the state of Nebraska is giving away more than $100,000 in grants to farmers and other land owners willing to plant native grasses and flowers on their land.
At Metro Community College an apiary is also Tony Sandoval's classroom.
“We need more educated, skilled bee keepers to keep bees alive,” said Sandoval.
He says in Nebraska one of the biggest threats to bees are also some of farming's best tools: mechanization and pesticides.
“It is inside the plant. Well, it also affects the pollen and then nectar,” He said. “Also, bees go to these plants that have it and they're taking that stuff home with them.”