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Center for Prairie Studies to host beekeeping workshop


By Julia Anderson

The Center for Prairie Studies (CPS) will be hosting a workshop to introduce a group of students to the world of beekeeping on Saturday, Sept. 15. Tim Hammond, the associate head swimming and diving coach will lead the three-hour workshop from 9 a.m. to noon.

Hammond hopes that the workshop will allow students to get hands-on experience with beekeeping. “The main focus is for [students] to interact with bees because you can read about it and you can go to class, but being able to interact with bees is a little bit more difficult,” he said.

During the course of the workshop, students, equipped with the proper supplies and attire of beekeepers, should expect to get up close to hives and bees. With enrollment capped at 15 students, each student attending the workshop will have the opportunity to work hands-on.

“They will see inside of a hive, see the equipment people tend to use when they’re interacting with hives and bees generally, which will include veils, hats, gloves, suits, a hive tool and then three different kinds of hives,” Hammond said.

Hammond first learned how to keep bees when he and his mother took a continuing education course on beekeeping, taught by Phil Ebert at Iowa Valley Community College.

After the class, he purchased bees from Ebert, a full-time professional beekeeper, and built his first hive. He now has two hives of his own and estimates that there are about 18,000 bees living in each. Though he does not work professionally as a beekeeper, Hammond has several years of experience with keeping bees, and he provides himself with honey.

For the workshop, a College van will transport students to two locations to see three types of hives. First, students will see the Langstroth hives owned by the College’s student beekeeping club. These hives are the most standard and are those most commonly used by professional beekeepers.

From there, students will visit Hammond’s top bar and Flow hives, which he explains are typically alternative options. The Flow hive, in particular, is a newer innovation in beekeeping that is beginning to gain more interest and popularity.

“I think that it’s going to be a revolution in beekeeping,” Hammond said.

The beekeeping workshop is one of many programs offered by the CPS as part of their mission to promote Grinnell’s location as a center for learning in the context of the community, environment and sustainability.

Though the workshop is currently filled to capacity, students can email Jan Graham [] to be added to the waitlist, and the CPS directly at [] to be on the mailing list for future programs.

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