I fell in love with honeybee and beekeeping at 14 (in 1972) while boarding at a funky, tiny alternative school (it WAS the 70s . . .) down in Gold Hill (Southern Oregon). Quaker based school on 300 acres of grass for some cows and forest.
One of the school owners’ sons, Tom and I started talking about our interest in bees. Within weeks we’d pulled out the table saw and sawed / nailed together our first hive boxes.
We got our bees from the legendary cool grandfather beekeeper in those parts Delmar Smith. He was short, round, had a high voice and moved his arms like bee wings. Honest – a human bee. A very generous and knowledgeable beekeeper in the area.
Through the years I’ve tried chemicals, but have for the past 10 years gone chemical free – and focusing only on the queen strength – as the way back to strong bees.
As I thought about HOW to get kids excited and not fearful about bees, new program ideas would come to mind.
First the PowerPoint show – for practical reasons – it’s too hard and many think too risky to bring bees into schools, of course.
Next were in-apiary classes, with a bee-proof pop up tent. This way, the students can be REALLY close, but have almost no risk of getting stung. Usually within 30 mins everyone is bare faced and next to hives with me. I LOVE that part!