Each new year, we select a few actions to focus on, based on our successes the previous year. 2020 promises to be a full and exciting year with actions both local and worldwide:
Food Forest Installations
Volunteer James Landreth has headed our food forest program this past year and will be installing a food forest in Camas, Washington, for the city, plus several installations for local/regional churches. A food forest is a space that is planted to mimic a young natural forest, primarily with edible plants. Orchards are similar, but a food forest has multiple layers of food production that include tall trees (like nuts), understory trees (like fruit trees), shrubs, vines, and ground cover. Not every layer has to be included. This multilayered structure creates an intact soil profile over time that allows for biological and chemical mutualism. A food forest is drought tolerant once established, low maintenance, longer term and productive.
An established food forest provides a consistent source of nutrition for people and pollinators, and can do so throughout most of the year. In addition, they provide habitat for other beneficial wildlife such as insects, birds, frogs, etc. Importantly, food forests are a place for people to come together to work and eat. They can be an excellent way to find common ground between diverse groups, including people of different faiths, factions, and support organizations such as a law enforcement. A food forest is a resilient system that can provide food sovereignty for a local community during turbulent times.
Camas as Pollinator Protector
The City of Camas has graciously updated the Hobby Beekeeping Code to align more closely with our goals (thank you for all your hard work and encouragement, Pete). We formed a bee-focused Council subcommittee, and are formulating plans for municipal events and projects that will draw the local citizenry into positive support for bee survival. Updates coming!
Every Yard Matters
This slogan will be leading us into many exciting local projects this year, among them a community contest where prizes will be awarded to local citizens/businesses/students who plant their sidewalk strips with nourishing pollinator forage.
There are many empty bits and pieces of land in any community that can easily be put to work feeding our bees and other pollinators. By adding some perennial food plants, these areas can be a source of local food, as well. With an educational push reminding people that “every yard matters,” we hope to galvanize the community into maximizing flowers and trees and food, and minimizing the food wasteland of grass lawn.
What Bees Want
Susan and Jacqueline have completed their book titled “What Bees Want.” It is a story and instruction book detailing the revolutionary style of bee tending we do here at Preservation Beekeeping. Many of our beekeeping students come from out of state and out of country to learn this kind of gentle bee tending. This book will enable anyone, anywhere to become a preservation-style bee tender. We expect What Bees Want to be published this year.
A Workshop with Torben Schiffer
Jacqueline and Susan have invited bee researcher Torben Schiffer from Germany to come and share with our American bee lovers all he has learned about how bees live in the wild. Torben’s work and research have come to form the basis of the way we keep bees. Torben has never been swayed by the influences of conventional beekeeping. His interest from the start has been to discover how bees live and thrive in nature. All other bee research has been done on bees in box hives. How shocking that we know so much about how to produce honey, and so little about what bees really need to thrive.
We plan to organize a series of workshop with Torben at different sites in the U.S. so that his work can become known here. We believe that Torben’s research will be ground zero for a revolution in beekeeping around the world, and we want to be part of bringing that about. We are pleased that Torben has joined our Advisory Board!
Going forward into 2020, we are building on our successes with Camas High School (thank you, Eleot!) and will be tapping into our newly formed Education Committee for connections with the local school districts. PBC will also, once again, have a presence at various public events to spread the word via tabling, and provide speakers and programs with local clubs and faith groups. Finally, we have this outreach up and running!
We continue to explore and test out new ideas for good, snug, lightweight bee nests. We are blessed to have several volunteers with good woodworking/building skills to help us create suitable bee nests for our local bee tenders.
Our projects for 2019 adhered to our mission of making a difference close to home:
- We will be finalizing our Bee City USA project with the City of Camas, and will be committing to the first yearly project for Camas as it steps up into its new role as pollinator guardian. We’re not quite sure what the Bee City project will be for this year, but are exploring a “sidewalk strip pollinator garden competition” in the local neighborhoods, or a pollinator-themed juried art show for students.
- Susan and Jacqueline will be publishing a book that outlines our method of beekeeping, and teaches readers how to craft a Preservation Bee Garden for their bees. It will follow along with our two-day bee-mersion class for new beekeepers, and will be a great resource for those who live to0 far away to participate in our classes.
- We continue our local swarm-rescue of spring bees, matching bees with bee tenders who have taken our classes in Preservation-style Beekeeping.
- PBC is in the schools this year, offering lectures and advising several senior students on bee-themed senior projects.
- We are increasing our presence here on our website and blog, and also at our FB page, to provide the newest information on bee husbandry and health for those looking for a kinder, gentler way of “beeing.
- We’ll also be increasing our participation at local fairs, so keep on the lookout for us!
We focused 2018 on several projects we believe will have lasting positive ramifications. While our website, FB pages , and Instagram have international scope, our projects—like bees in their colonies—are focused close to home territory. In this year, we are proud to say:
- We updated Camas City Bee Code! Hobby keepers may now keep their bees in any hive style, including skeps and logs. Citizens are not allowed to destroy bee nests, but must have them gently removed and rehomed if necessary. And it is unlawful for keepers to import bees from out of the area and by mail.
- We have moved ever-closer to get Camas declared a member of Bee City USA. This should be in place by 2019. Bee City USA is a national certification program in which cities declare themselves friends of pollinators, and create events, projects, and educational offerings that advance the well being of pollinators in their city limits.
- Our BeeHaven habitat program has enabled us to place 10 bee-friendly hives up on private and public lands. You can read more about this project HERE.
- We brought PBC to numerous fairs and events, enabling us to share bee advice and wisdom with the public.