Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Hosts Beekeeping Workshop

May 1st, 2016 | By | Category: 27-4: Good Medicine, Tribal College News
By Tom Urbanski
Honey bees are not only vital to our ecosystem, but they produce aamoo ziinzibaakwadaaboo, or sweet bee water. Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim/micro2macro.net

Honey bees are not only vital to our ecosystem, but they produce aamoo ziinzibaakwadaaboo,
or sweet bee water. Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim/micro2macro.net

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC), in partnership with the Northeast Minnesota Beekeepers Association, hosted a day-long workshop called “Beekeeping and More!”

Session topics included equipment, planting habitat, diseases, pests, mite treatment, general troubleshooting, and getting stung. Several hands-on activities were also part of the program, including learning to make lip balm, fire cider, and oxymels. Participants learned about collecting aamoo ziinzibaakwadaaboo (sweet bee water) to make a range of products from a hive.

Experts from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, the Northeast Minnesota Beekeepers Association, Boreal Natives, and FDLTCC presented the sessions and answered questions throughout the workshop. Informational displays and door prize drawings were also a part of the workshop.

“It was fabulous to see beekeepers meeting other beekeepers, sharing ideas and personal experiences throughout the day,” says Courtney Kowalczak, director of the Environmental Institute at FDLTCC. “With 150 participants, we exceeded our expectations of around 100 people, and beekeepers came from as far away as Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada. This was the largest beekeeping workshop in the northern part of Minnesota, and people asked us to do it again next year.”

Opening speaker Roy Ober of the Northeast Minnesota Beekeepers Association introduced the basics of beekeeping. Jen Stenersen of Boreal Natives talked about creating pollinator habitat and avoiding invasive species. Becky Masterman of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad presented the latest research on diseases, pests, queen bee source, and hive health.

“One of our points of emphasis was sharing information about beekeeping in a cold climate like Minnesota,” says Kowalczak. “Becky Masterman of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad explained the latest research and provided strategies for maintaining productive hives and wintering bees during the cold season.” The event closed with hands-on activities on making products from a hive.

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