2016 President’s Message

The year is quickly winding down with the rapid approach of Christmas right on the heels of our first significant snowfall. Our bees are tucked in and it will be interesting to see what this year’s overwintering will reveal in the spring. Our next “meeting” is our annual holiday potluck and is this coming Monday, December 12th at 7:00 pm. We will NOT be conducting beginning beekeeping classes that evening. Bring a dish to share, a plate and silverware and a wrapped gift suitable (under $20) for the white elephant gift exchange. Please keep in mind that we have some children that participate each year, so if your gift is not suitable for a child, please indicate. The club will provide turkey, ham and beverages. If you’re interested in observing the fine art of honey judging, bring a jar for Bob Smith who will be demonstrating the process.

If you’d like to purchase a “These Plants Feed Bees” sign for Christmas gift giving, I will have the large and small signs available on Monday evening. What a super thoughtful gift for the pollinator lover in your life!!

I’d like to thank the OBA board and chairperson of our association for another incredible year. They all put in such a significant amount of time and work that benefits the club, our community, beekeeping and our bees. A special thanks to Kathy Miles for making sure we have refreshments at every meeting and taking the time to haul everything in and out each meeting evening. We so very much appreciate you!!!

In 2016 we continued our relationship with the Sustainability in Prisons Project folks, offering beekeeping instruction to inmates at Cedar Creek Corrections Center. Their programs have been generating a lot of buzz nationwide and other prisons are interested in implementing similar educational programs. We also continued our relationship with the Port of Olympia and the Olympia Regional Airport with hives there. The Airbee team includes Roy Manicke, Frank Scolaro, James Martin and Bruce Longmire and they have done an outstanding job managing the airport hives. This year, we were able to harvest some honey and the Port’s share was donated to SafePlace in Olympia for their annual fundraising auction. A brief presentation on the project was given at the November 14th Port Commission meeting where the team was also introduced. This fall, the team worked with Dr. Danny Najera of Green River College, (and a frequent fabulous presenter to our association) to install a sensor on one of the hives at the airport to collect humidity, temperature and weight data over the winter. We’re very excited to be working with Danny!

In February we participated in our first-ever All-Agriculture Day in cooperation with the Washington State Beekeepers Association at the Capitol. Several associations were represented, including the OBA. A honey tasting was set up, great connections were made and the day thoroughly enjoyed along with other agriculture groups and organizations that were participating. We were also thrilled to witness Governor Jay Inslee signing HB 2478 on March 29th. This bill, which will help create bee forage pilot projects will also help landowners learn how to successfully replace noxious weeds with good bee forage.

We also installed two hives of bees at the Governor’s Mansion on the Capitol Grounds in Olympia. This exciting project allowed us to bring pollinator awareness to the grounds staff, who received a special educational presentation as well as to guests, staff and visitors to the Capitol and the mansion. I was thrilled to be able to give a brief talk on the hive installation and bees during Ed Hume and Trudi Inslee’s annual organic garden planting event at the mansion. We are looking forward to this continued collaboration in the coming year. Abundant thanks to the Mansion Bee Team that includes Duane McBride, Jeff Coleman and Mark Emrich. This story became national media news and we hope it becomes a model for other state governor’s to follow suit.

The association was also well-represented at multiple community outreach events including our first “Adult Swim-The Science of Eats” and a honey tasting at the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia as well as participating in their kid’s camp and other museum events. We also participated in the Nisqually Watershed Festival for the second year. We had a booth at the Thurston County Conservation District’s annual native plant sale event, brought pollinators to the Master Gardener’s Children’s Program at DirtWorks (their demonstration garden), did presentations for Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary groups, participated in Yelm Cinema’s Earth Week event, another program at the WET Science Center and even landed an interview to talk “bees” with Dick Pust on KXXO’s “It’s Your Community”.

Bert Lewis is maintaining the club’s hives at our apiary in association with the Olympia Kiwanis Garden. Thank you, Bert, for all your hard work managing the hives at that location! The Kiwanis folks that run the garden (all the produce grown is donated to the local food bank) are thrilled to have the fuzzy pollinators around and we’re looking forward to the coming year with them. Huge thanks to Dixon Fellows for maintaining our observation hive bees and to Maren Anderson who helped with observation hives, too, for multiple events. Can’t do it without you guys.

Mechele Linehan took on the herculean task of package bee ordering and, once again, did a yeoman’s job of managing the details so that the club could provide a resource for folks seeking bees. Thank you, Mechele, for this and all the hard work you do for the club!

Nathan Allan took on developing the new website and we’re thrilled to have him manage the updating and evolution of our site to make it a real resource for our members and the public. Thank you, Nathan!!

Paul Longwell, now a Thurston County Fair Board member, did a remarkable job with the bee booth at the fair this year. The pollinator garden that he and his wife Penny installed is growing beautifully and is a gorgeous and important reminder of what we can do to create gardens for bees and other pollinators. Thank you Paul and Penny!! The club also received a special certificate of appreciation for the OBA’s year’s of service to the Thurston County Fair this year and we were deeply honored.

Thanks, also, to Bob Smith and Mary Haynes for continuing to provide quality education in our apprentice beekeeping classes. Learning about beekeeping is the number one reason folks come to our club, so we are very honored to have Bob lead the education department and share his vast knowledge (and enthusiasm about bees!) with attendees in the class.

Thanks, also, to Gail Booth for spearheading our swarm team. She makes sure that the swarm hotline is answered and takes of her time to connect with a team member to retrieve swarms. This can take multiple calls and we could not do it without her. You rock, Gail!

If you took on organizing an outreach event (Phil Yarosz and Perry Holtsberry!!) or participated in an outreach event, or built something and donated it or just donated something we needed, or found a way to do something better (beautiful library cart Ernie!!) please know how much you are appreciated! And, if I’ve forgotten anyone, I sincerely apologize. Please let me know and I will headline you in the next news letter after removing the egg on my face!! Board members and chairpersons, prepare to be acknowledged at the Christmas party!

We will continue to work on evolving our governance and association as well as on local and county issues pertaining to pollinators and pollinator habitat through our relationships with the County Commissioners, the Port of Olympia, the Voluntary Stewardship Program, the Thurston Economic Development Council and others and are looking forward to a new year of beekeeping, education and other fun activities this year!

Most importantly, heartfelt and huge thanks to each and every member of the Olympia Beekeepers Association. You are what makes all this happen and each of you contributes on so many levels to the overarching success and evolution of the club just by being there. From all of us at the OBA we extend our warmest wishes to you and yours for a joyous holiday season and a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year!!

Laurie

 

Honey Bee Project at the Governor’s Mansion

Two hives were placed on the front lawn of the Governor's Executive Residence at the Washington State Capitol and honey bees installed on April 20, 2016.

The project, a collaboration between the Olympia Beekeepers Association and the Washington Department of Enterprise Services will help raise public awareness about the decline of bee populations, our dependence on them to pollinate much of the food we eat and their importance to Washington's agricultural economy. The honey bees will also be boosting the pollination of plants at the mansion on on the Capitol Campus.

 

Links to recent articles on the project in the news:

http://www.theolympian.com/news/politics-government/article73484692.html

http://www.king5.com/news/local/governors-mansion-gets-30000-honey-bees/145674691

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article73484907.html

http://q13fox.com/2016/04/20/bees-installed-on-capitol-campus-in-olympia/

http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20160421/washington-capitol-buzzing-with-ags-littlest-lobbyists

http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/article72268317.html

http://www.thurstontalk.com/2016/04/21/honeybees-capitol-washington/

http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Bee-hives-installed-on-lawn-of-Washington-7249071.php#photo-9803250

Honey Bees Coming to the Washington State Governors Mansion!

Installation of stand and hive boxes was completed today by the OBA's Capitol Bee Team. The new buzzing residents at the Governor's Mansion will officially arrive on April 20th. The OBA is thrilled to be collaborating with Governor and Mrs. Inslee and the Department of Enterprise Services at the Capitol on this project.

OBA Members and Trudi Inslee, Wasingtons First Lady
(In the picture below, left to right, Brent Chapman, DES; Jeff Coleman, Duane McBride, Mark Emrich, First Lady Trudi Inslee, Laurie Pyne)

Thurston County Conservation District Annual Native Plant Sale

Thinking about expanding your native pollinator forage offerings this season? Look no further than the Thurston County Conservation District Annual Native Plant Sale this Saturday, March 6th from 10-3:00 pm at the district office in Tumwater.

There will be displays, special presentations and activities and while you're there, stop by the OBA table and say "hello"! Weather permitting, we'll have our observation hive for an up-close look at our amazing honey bees. Everyone is welcome to attend the free presentations all day, including   "The Amazing Honey Bee" at 11:00. We look forward to seeing you there!

tcdplantsaleimage

 

 

HB 2478 Critical Update

Beekeepers: The time to act is now to improve bee forage and bee health in the state of Washington!

Please contact your Senator on EHB 2478, and your Representatives about the bee research position at WSU, and do it soon! You can visit:

http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Input your address for links to your Senator and Representatives. Click on each name for their office phone to leave a message and/or to send an email.

Two items have almost reached the finish line and need a final push!

First item: EHB 2478 (the bee forage pilot project) will be considered by the Senate in a floor vote this coming week, February 29th-March4th. Please call and/or email your Senator and ask for their support in favor of HB 2478. This bill will conduct forage replacement projects around the state to find the best methods to replace noxious weeds with good bee forage. HB 2478 passed 96 to 1 in the House and unanimously from the committees which heard testimony on it. The forage projects in this bill will help promote healthy honey bee and other pollinator populations and thus better serve the needs of pollinated agriculture and the environment.

Second item: The permanent new bee researcher position for WSU has been successfully inserted into the Senate version of this year's supplemental budget. It had been inserted into the House version, but was removed. Speaker Chopp of the House needs the support of all the Representatives to re-insert it and not let it be removed again. Your Representatives must hear of your support! Call and/or email your Representatives before Monday to tell them bee research is vital for bees in overcoming the problems which have led to increasing losses of hives. WSU has the right emphasis on bee research, and a second bee researcher would greatly increase the innovations coming from WSU toward making our bees healthier. The top four states in terms of pollinated acres are California, Washington, Michigan and Oregon. The number of bee researchers in each is 9, 1, 2 and 2 respectively! Washington State University has Dr. Steve Sheppard as the sole researcher, and he's extremely busy serving as the chair of the Entomology Department there. An additional bee researcher, working on ideas applicable and specific to the Pacific Northwest, would greatly contribute to how we can improve our bee populations.

Both items contribute positively for the health and sustainability of our bees. With support from beekeepers, the first item mentioned above has a good chance of passing. The second will not happen without the voice of every beekeeper in the state. 

Now is the time! Please make an effort to improve bee forage and bee research in Washington by contacting your Senator and Representatives.