From Heavy Metal to Teaching College Students About Bees
Working with local college programs is one of the unexpected joys that came with becoming a professional beekeeper. Growing up in the area, I knew of both Dickinson and Messiah Colleges but when it came time for me to choose a path after high school, college did not weigh heavy on my mind. In fact, beekeeping wasn’t my go-to either; I had actually followed my love of music. I toured the country playing guitar in a heavy metal band and whenever I wasn’t shredding it on stage or fulfilling my obligation of shared driving time, I spent a lot of that time reading. This is when I ended up delving into the world of bees.
Honeybees were of interest to me and reading about them led to the budding of a passion. I read as much as I could for two years before buying my first two nucleus hives. After that, I mentored for short periods of time with a few experienced beekeepers, but I was pretty much on my own. I started Honey Bee Friendly in 2012 as a mostly self-taught beekeeper and today, I pride myself in being a local expert in the field.
I never knew whether or not I’d be able to make a full-time career out of beekeeping but the journey of owning a bee farm has brought many opportunities my way and I’ve realized that there is a much larger need for beekeeping services than I would’ve otherwise known. I’ve been part of local farmers’ markets, I’ve done small-scale pollination services, I’ve been a mentor to numerous hobbyist beekeepers but an unexpected path I’ve been taken on is doing workshops for local colleges. Most colleges, I’ve found out, have an agriculture program dedicated to things like farming and specifically beekeeping! Program directors typically have a well-rounded education in all fields of agriculture but lack the depth of knowledge in each particular subject that someone like me has to offer. This means that occasionally, I get to teach seminars, workshops or just have a student audience while going about my workday. No, I’m not a professor and I don’t currently offer any apprenticeship programs but getting to meet young people who are equally as interested in the complex life of honeybees as I am, is enough reason for me to continue my relationship with these student programs.