I am probably best described as a bee-centered beekeeping educator who also builds Bee Tree Hives in response to what the bees are teaching me.
I have served as the president of the Central Colorado Beekeepers Association, am involved in multiple Sustainable Honey Bee projects around the country, am a contributor to the Natural Bee Husbandry magazine, and I am the creator of Bee Tree Hives (www.BeeTreeHives.com). In addition, I participate in various projects to improve pollinator habitat in my region.
I am a writer, speaker, presenter, and educator.
I currently teach these classes:
For conventional beekeepers who are beginning to feel their hearts stir toward bee-centered beekeeping: The Building Blocks of Bee-Centered Beekeeping
For those who already consider themselves bee-centered beekeepers: Bee-Centered Beekeeping Immersion
For gardeners and permaculturists: Improving Pollinator Habitat and Living in Harmony with Honey Bees
(I do travel to present, and if you're interested you can email me at BeeTreeHives@gmail.com)
But, above all else, I am a student of honey bees. All of the colonies that I monitor are widely separated in my high mountain valley. The one exception is a small apiary on my own property. I call this apiary "The Classroom." This place, in particular, is where the bees teach me. All that I have learned from them has gone into the design and development of the Bee Tree Hive.
I am a bee-centric honey bee steward with the goal of developing an ecotype. An ecotype is a genetically distinct geographic variety within a species, which is adapted to specific environmental conditions. My long-term goal is to steward a variety of honey bees (still Apis Mellifera) that can survive and thrive in my region - both in hosted hives and in the wild - and to eventually encourage them to swarm and become feral. (My county, which encompasses over a thousand square miles, is 80% wilderness and public lands.)
Not every bee-centric beekeeper lives in as wild a place as I do. But what if we were all to adopt the mind-set of stewarding honey bees in a way that would allow them to develop the ability to thrive in our own particular region - even to the point that a swarm could easily survive in the wild? For me, that is a core value of my bee-centric approach.
I am, in fact, a late bloomer when it comes to keeping bees. I most certainly did not discover beekeeping in my youth. And, when I finally did discover it, I was appalled and disappointed that I had not done so at an earlier age. "Think of all the additional years of beekeeping that I could have had!” I said to myself. But then something happened that changed my attitude. Through the world of beekeeping I discovered the world of honey bees. And it has been my experience that those two worlds are not at all the same thing. If the world of beekeeping is interesting, the world of honey bees is fascinating, beautiful, and wondrous beyond all imagining. Once I could see the bees themselves - which I could never have done in my youth - I quickly gave up the study of beekeeping and embraced the study of honey bees.
Finally, I could also be described as one who simply keeps company with honey bees; watching... listening... learning… letting the bees show me the way. And, thankfully, they are a patient guide and teacher.
A person I greatly respect recently said to me, “You are one of the ‘bee people.’ Bee people are very different from beekeepers, and my heart sings when I discover them.” What a compliment and an encouragement!