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Beekeeping Class Notes – Introduction – What is your goal?

Session 1 – Introduction

Slide 1

Thanks for coming and welcome.
Start by thanking you for being here. So encouraging to have such strong interest in this course and to see all of you here today.
Briefly introduce assistant?

I think its important to acknowledge country in all that we do
the generic acknowledgement has no impact – insincere, empty and vacuous
I want to make an impact

– slide 2

This image shows a language map of the original people of this land. It shows the general location of larger groupings of people which may include smaller groups such as clans, dialects or individual languages in a group.

With this map in mind, I’d like to pay respect to the original people, past and present, who had previously lived on the land we stand on now, perhaps since the beginning of human history.

I’d like to acknowledge that the original people of this land have been the victims of genocide and that this land that we stand on today has been stolen from them.

I’d like to acknowledge that this genocide happened so that this land could be stolen from them.

I’d like to acknowledge that before British settlement, there were up to 1.25 million Australian indigenous people. Today, 230 years later, only about 800,000 people identify as aboriginal.

I would like to acknowledge that, in the words of indigenous elder Robbie Thorpe, all non-indigenous people in Australia are part of an illegal occupation and that being here today is a continuation of a criminal legacy.

I would like to acknowledge that whist this situation may have changed form, it has not gone away or been resolved; it is an ongoing struggle for the original people of this land which continues today in the form of direct and indirect attacks on the people, language, land and culture.

And I’d like to take a minute to think about that, whilst we look at the next image, which I think explains itself.

– slide 3

After that somber note, I’ll get the practicalities out of the way.

– slide 4

Housekeeping, toilets, kitchen, get up and move around, tell me if it’s boring

– slide 5

Run through schedule for today – keep the schedule loose – too much to cover everything. Try go to with the flow but make sure we cover the essentials. If we miss anything you can look at the website where all notes are posted.
(show them how to get into secret section of the website)

– slide 6

So happy and privileged to be with you at the start of this amazing journey.
Not an expert. Have had all kinds of experts – ecologists, biologists, entomologists – would prefer a conversation (if possible with limited time) like to hear from any experts in the group especially to correct me.

A two-way street. Always learning and I learn as much as you from doing this so thank you.

Just no way I can cover everything I’d like to in depth during a 2 day course. One or two of areas in depth – the ones that are important to understand the concept – the rest is just a taster – an introduction. Pointing you in the right direction to continue your own search.

Ridiculous amount of information to absorb. Don’t get stressed. Let it wash over you. Just a starting point. What you need will stick the rest will be absorbed over the lifetime of beekeeping you have ahead of you.

Apart from actually how to keep bees, main points I want to get across.

The difference between the style of beekeeping that is mostly practiced and bee-centred beekeeping.
Why and how the commercially influenced beekeeping styles are in appropriate to the hobbyist, how prevalent the conventional perspective is and how you are likely to experience hostility as a bee-centred beekeeper.
Understanding bees themselves – bees as a super-organism.
Bees are part of the human experience.
The awe of bees and the colony as a holy place.

– slide 7

Impossible to cover everything you need to know in 10 hours but I would like you to leave here armed with everything you need to know. So, I have a “how to” beekeeping book here if you’d like it.
You can get this book from Book Depository for $20 or you can buy it from me for $30.
Best book I have been able to find so far. But certainly not perfect. An American book. Happy to go through it with you pointing out the parts that don’t apply or I don’t agree with.
I will write the perfect book.

– slide 8

How beekeeping has changed my life.
Something I hear time and time again “Bees choose you.” Certainly was true for me.
If you get into it, it’ll change your life too. Careful of bee fever!

A great time to do the course at the beginning of the bee season.

A chance to network. Look at all these amazing people. Form connections! A bee group?

It depends / You Never Can Tell With Bees / Beekeeping is local
My advice is dont believe anything anyone says – including me.

– slide 9

Introduction activity
Interview the other. Ask anything but I’d particularly like to know… where they are based. If they have bees already. What is their goal with bees?

– slide 10+

About me. Why I’m here and what I’m trying to do.

Searching for purpose – something I’m passionate about, something with a positive impact.

Dozens of different jobs in lots of different fields
Started working life in epicenter of the corporate arena
Sales and marketing of hightech IT to the stock market and later IT security
My purpose then was money. I thought that was what life was about – acquiring money – which came easily. But it felt empty.
I felt as though my soul was being sucked out of me and it was actually making me physically sick, my mental health was not great. It was killing me.
But luckily I had an strong epiphany.
Won’t go in to details of that now, but since then I have committed myself to doing something in life that feels good in my guts and heart and something that I really believe will have a positive impact on the world.

I love dogs so got into dog training, many different kinds of body work/massage, and chinese medicine. Although I enjoyed all of these things in their own way and got a lot out of them, none of these really resonated with me as something to commit my life to.

But I think and hope I may have found what I have been looking for with bees.

I’ve always loved bees. One of my earliest memories is catching them and being fascinated by the little prick of pain I would get every now and again when I did.
Bullied at school but figured out I could pick bees up by their wings and the bullies were afraid of this.

At about the age of ten, at school, we were asked to write a report on anything we wanted to write it on. I chose Euro Honeybees – Apis Mellifera . I put my heart and soul into that report. I’ve never worked on anything so diligently since then – until I started working with bees again.  I learned so much that I found absolutely fascinating and this is what really started my journey with bees.

Since then I’ve always tried to read and watch as much about bees as I can.

Wanted bees but thought it was out my reach.
Always moving around.
Inspired by Lyndon the beeguy at the time at CERES (things have changed at CERES since)
It was Lyndon that convinced me it was possible.

Then expecting baby.
Settle down – chose Castlemaine.
Did a natural beekeeping course (inspired me to 1. do my own research and 2. offer beekeeping classes)
Posted on facebook (bravado)
Swarm in my friend’s garden. Hooked.
Word got out. More swarms. Too many for code.

Create a network of back garden bee colonies.
Spread the word about bees and ecology.
Create as many holistic beekeepers as possible (slide with Simon Buxton quote)
Build a network around bees to improve the whole community.
Increase awareness and implement real solutions.
What’s good for bees is good for people.

Realised just how inappropriate conventional techniques are for the average backyard beekeeper. Conventional beekeeping swept up in commercial style and there’s no need for that. Does not benefit bees. Does not benefit beekeepers. Who does it benefit? Those making money.

Goal is to bring beekeeping back to the people.
Turn this town into a bee sanctuary and a center for learning about bee-centred beekeeping.
Stop my family and this town consuming so much sugar.
Stop spraying harmful chemicals.
Be more aware of pollinators and ecological issues as a whole.
And for this idea to spread.
It’s not just me, The Bee Sanctuary Movement.

Have a look at

Have a look at The Bee Sanctuary facebook group.