BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The University of Vermont has received a surprise gift of half a million dollars to go toward researching bees.

The $500,000 anonymous gift was announced on Tuesday. WCAX-TV reports the money will go toward studying bee pollinators, why the bee population is currently in decline and what can be done to reverse the decline.

Taylor Ricketts, who heads up UVM's Gund Institute for Environment, says officials had no idea the gift was coming. Ricketts says the donor was concerned about bees and the essential role they play in ecology and the environment.

The institute plans a call for proposals for grants to do work related to pollinators this summer or fall. Proposals will not have to be from UVM.


This story has been corrected to fix the name of the organization receiving the gift to Gund Institute for Environment