UConn Students Raising Local Environmental Conservation Awareness

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “the youth are our future” and a group of four UConn students is proving just that. Throughout the summer, the students have been working on a film and photography project depicting youth environmental conservation and action throughout the region.

From the filmmakers and project organizers making this vision a reality, to young entrepreneurs taking action, these college students are hoping to leave a big, lasting impact on our community.

“It’s so cool to be able to tell the stories of people involved at our school but also in the greater northeastern US region,” explains Lauren Pawlowski, who is the project manager of the group and a rising senior at Uconn.  “And to just inspire our generation to get involved in conservation and other aspects of environmental sustainability.”

“I think just the fact that we’re able to bring attention to it and realize that ‘oh there really isn’t any time to waste at this point and that we’re the ones responsible for that change,’” adds Skyler Kim, one of the photographers and a member of the class of 2023.

The project is funded through the UConn IDEA Grant Program. And the individuals featured in the film do have very big ideas. Like Raina Jain who was inspired as a junior in high school after a trip to a bee farm. “To see all these bees dying from no fault of their own for something that humans caused that’s what struck a chord in my heart,” says Jain.

So at the young age of 17, Jain invented HiveGuard to help prevent bee colony collapse – one of many struggles plaguing the bee population amid climate change.  The device gets placed at the entrance of beehives and as bees enter the hive a small amount of a chemical called thymol gets rubbed off onto the body of the bee to protect them from parasitic mites. HiveGuard sparked interest from beekeepers all over the world.

“I realized that science without implementation really has no impact and that’s when I delved into the world of entrepreneurship,” says Jain.

Raina didn’t stop there. With human health in mind, she concocted an immune-support shot infused with honeybee byproducts that will soon be sold in Whole Foods across the northeast. A pollinated tree will be planted for every bottle sold. You can learn more about the product here: https://www.the-queenbee.com/.

“I don’t want to be known as the person who saves the bees for my whole life because I hope at some point they don’t need to be saved anymore," Jain says.

“We’re hoping that through the film and photography we’re hoping to share stories of a variety of individuals involved whether it be through volunteering or working for an organization or even starting their own company,” adds Pawlowski.  “I mean it’s crazy to see the work that people are doing now.”

To learn more about the incredible work being done by our local community members and the students at Uconn, just visit: uconnideaproject.wordpress.com

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