So you've discovered this website,
AND you're a beekeeper,
AND you're psyched,
BUT your college days are long and lost!
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved with College Beekeeper
and create a Student Beekeeping Initiative.
Many times, we’ve heard about experienced beekeepers who would love to have an interested apprentice. An apprentice who is keen on beekeeping, unlike your children, who still might think you look a bit strange in your beekeeping suit. Well, why not have a group of apprentices? Why not use your expertise to teach and guide a group of students?
The most common problem we hear about is that young people aren’t interested in beekeeping. Well, you’re wrong. Big-time. We rarely have problems with lack of student interest. Truth is, they’re excited, but it’s hard to learn beekeeping from a book. Which is where you come in. You’d be the primary beekeeping contact, and the initial source of expertise and legitimacy for the group.
The second problem we hear about is finding the students. For some reason, you don’t want to barge into the largest lecture hall, all suited up, hive in hand, interrupting the prof, and inquire which students are interested in beekeeping. We understand. But WE can fix that problem for you. We can find a few students to start the seed of a project, and with your beekeeping help, it’ll grow from there.
The third problem we hear about is protective equipment. If you have a group of ~20 interested students, you don’t need to buy protective equipment for them all. A group of 5 around a hive is about as high as you can go when teaching. So buy the minimum, and do things in rounds. Also, you can just buy the veil, and perhaps the gloves, and make sure they all wear shirts and sweaters. In addition, you shouldn’t be buying the protective equipment. The school should be. But perhaps at the beginning, you have a spare or two lying around that can be used.
We usually ignore the other problems. But if you have one that's of concern, send us an email!
So. Do you think you have what it takes?
Here’s are some of the qualities you probably need:
Patience, because it can take time to get the project running, making it self-sustainable, and some people are slower at learning.
Expertise, because you sort of need to know what you’re doing.
Flexibility, because you’re dealing with students, who are constantly being pulled in a million directions. But also because you’re there to teach them, but they’re also supposed to learn how to do things on their own, and eventually teach each other.
And Location. You’ve got to be somewhat close to the high-school/college/university that you’re helping out at.
If you’re still interested, here’s what to do next:
First- read through this entire website.
Some things will need to be tweaked because its you starting the program off, not a student. But the basics are the same.
Are you interested in doing this? It does require some time, but can be organized to minimize the burden.
Third- Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know you’re interested, and where you’re located. If you know of a school nearby that you’d like to work with, or already have contacts with, let us know. If not, perhaps we can make a suggestion, or might even already have a program in progress. We’ll get on the case, ASAP.
Fourth- see where we go from there!
It might take a bit of time to make contact with the school, and some students. In the meantime, we’ll be in contact with you to see what sort of program you had in mind, and what your ideas are. As always, we’re open to suggestions.
Keep in mind that student beekeeping programs are always flexible.
Your program could be as easy as getting permission to keep a few of your hives somewhere on campus, and whenever you’re out inspecting those hives, you let the student group know a couple days in advance. The students who are available and interested come on down to help and learn.
That’s pretty basic.
So you would want to see how to expand the program once things are going well. Perhaps get some hives that are entirely maintained by the students, who don’t rely on you as heavily as they did in the beginning. Remember, a freshman is there four years, so they’ll start to get the hang of it. Give them a chance to teach each other and plan their own activities.
What’s in it for you? What can a college beekeeper program do for you?
First off, you get to share your experiences with new people. If you don’t pass it on, all your tricks of the trade could be lost forever.
Secondly, these students are interested people, who will probably see helping you out as a way to learn more. How’s your back these days?
Third, hanging out with young people will keep you young. LOL.