May 30 – June 3, 2017
Faculty: Ross Conrad, Jarrod Fowler, John Hayden
Pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and many other insects, provide essential ecosystem services. Pollinators support the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants and more than two-thirds of the world’s main crop species. The economic value of pollinator-dependent crops is estimated to be between $18 and $27 billion annually in the United States alone. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, necessary to produce seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears. Conservation of threatened pollinating insects is critically important to preserving both wider biodiversity and healthy agricultural systems.
In this five-day course, farmers, hobbyists, and landowners with interests in pollinator conservation and beekeeping will learn the context and skills to support beneficial insects and native pollinators, as well as to cultivate happy, healthy, productive honeybees. The course will also cover how to partner with your bees, add value to their products and create additional bee-related revenue streams. The first two days of this workshop are led by the Xerces Society’s Jarrod Fowler, who will teach best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators and other beneficial insects, assessment and design of habitat, and tools to increase and enhance their diversity. During days three and four, class sessions will be led by Ross Conrad, who will focus primarily on the benefits and mechanics of small scale and backyard beekeeping. We will cover fundamental topics and practices for natural and organic beekeeping including: location and equipment requirements; basic honey bee biology; swarming as an expression of the bees vitality; presence and mindfulness in the bee yard; and non-toxic pest and disease control. On our final day together, we will learn about an array of value added products from the hive, including pollen, propolis, bee venom, royal jelly, honey bee larvae and beeswax products. We will also try our hands at beeswax rendering and candle making. This is a hands-on exploration of pollinators and bees, punctuated with pollinator identification walks, an open hive demonstration and, weather permitting, ample opportunity for students to work with bees.
Jarrod will have guest speaker John Hayden talk about “Farming on the Wild Side at the Farm Between: Biodiversity and Pollinator Conservation” on Tuesday May 31st.
Prerequisites: Matriculated students must take Ecology.
Tuition & Fees: $750 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and three meals per day from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen, and ground transportation between class locations. Not included are airport transfers or accommodations; please let us know if we can assist you with finding or providing these.
Housing Availability & Fees: On-campus housing is available for an additional fee of $60 per night with a private bathroom and $50 per night with shared bathroom access. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic, dormitory-style housing that is clean and safe but not luxurious. Availability is limited and room requests are filled on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis. Please visit our accommodations page for more options.
Need more details before you can register? Let us know!
Jarrod Fowler is the Pollinator Conservation and Conservation Biological Control Specialist for New England and Northeast Regions at The Xerces Society and a Technical Service Provider at USDA-NRCS. Jarrod’s work is informed by 20 years of horticulture and entomology practice and training in New England. He is proficient in insect habitat assessment, design, installation, maintenance, and monitoring. Jarrod is leading extensive pollinator habitat restoration efforts with fruit and vegetable growers in New England. Jarrod recently launched a project with the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts and the USDA-NRCS to design and test habitat systems for beneficial insects on organic vegetable farms.
Ross Conrad: Ross Conrad learned his craft from the late Charles Mraz, world renowned beekeeper and promoter of apitherapy. He is the author of Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches To Modern Apiculture, published by Chelsea Green. Conrad is also a former president of the Vermont Beekeeper’s Association and a regular contributor to Bee Culture – The Magazine of American Beekeeping. He has given bee-related presentations and led organic beekeeping workshops and classes throughout North America for many years. His human-scale beekeeping business, Dancing Bee Gardens, supplies friends and neighbors with honey and other bee-related products.
John Hayden’s favorite childhood place was his small backyard where he spent hours on his hands and knees observing bugs and watching things grow. His experience in sustainable agriculture started as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa, where he worked to incorporate ecological pest management techniques in market gardens. John has an M.S. in Agricultural Entomology and over 30 years professional experience in sustainable and regenerative agriculture as a university educator, researcher, extension agent, consultant, and practicing organic farmer. With his wife, Nancy, John operates The Farm Between, nestled in the northern Green Mountains along the Lamoille River in Jeffersonville, Vermont. They work closely with nature by using ecological principles and practices to grow cold hardy organic fruits, fruit nursery plants, and maintain a 14-acre pollinator sanctuary. They believe that ‘Small is Beautiful’ and keep acreage and markets at a scale where they can still give personal attention to both the plants they grow and the the markets they serve. Their nursery specializes in cold hardy fruits, most which are grown on the farm commercially, as well as native pollinator plants.