Allison Hager, American Honey Princess, visits Merrimac Community School

Joe Block

Allison Hager at Merrimac Community School last week.

Students at Sauk Prairie School District’s school in Merrimac, WI got a sweet treat on Halloween when they met and heard from Allison Hager, the American Honey Princess for 2023. Hager, spokesperson with the American Honey Queen Program, visited the area on a trip through the region. The Program focuses on educating and advocating for beekeepers and United States honey consumption.

“I first became interested in honey bees and beekeeping at 13 years old when I found out about the Iowa Honey Producers Association Youth Scholarship Program,” said Hager, who is the 23-year-old daughter of Danny and Tracey Hager of Bellevue, Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. Allison has an A.A.S. degree in Agriculture Business from Kirkwood Community College.  

“[The Iowa Honey Producers Association Youth Scholarship Program] allows young students to get honey bees, beekeeping equipment, and education about keeping bees at no cost. Ever since then, I’ve found myself interested in learning as much as I can about honey bees and what we can do to help them, such as planting a variety of flowers,” she explained.

Hager talked about her current tour. “This year has been such an exciting experience for me! I love meeting beekeepers across the nation and educating as many people as I can about honey bees.” Hager continued, “One fun experience was when I was in Connecticut, I helped catch a honey bee swarm, which was a first for me! I’ve also had a lot of fun collecting honey from every state I visit, since there are over 300 varieties of honey in the United States. One of the most interesting kinds I’ve learned about was purple honey, which is only grown in North Carolina!”

Hager’s visit to Merrimac was as much a treat for the kids as it is for her. She explains her process:

“When I give presentations at schools, I always express my passion about understanding and helping honeybees. Using visuals, beekeeping equipment and tools, and having the students answer questions throughout the presentation have made it easier for them to grasp important topics. I have found that a lot of students already have basic knowledge about pollinators and what they provide for us, which is very exciting to see!”

In her free time, Allison enjoys crafting, scrapbooking, photography, spending time with her pets, and of course, beekeeping.

Merrimac Community School is a 4K through 5th grade, place-based, project-based school that includes its own school forest, school prairie, and a miniature farm where the students tend sheep, ducks, and chickens.

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