Tasmanian Junior Beekeepers: Pearls of Wisdom
Recently, I introduced you to my friends the Tasmanian Junior Beekeepers. Over the past couple of years, I have had a great deal to do with beekeepers, young and older, in Tasmania; this is incredibly lucky for me, and has been one of my favourite parts of being a beekeeper and educator in Australia. You see, travelling to Tasmania never ceases to fill me with wonder. The natural environment, its diversity and pristine beauty, the incredible food trails, and the serious sweethearts you meet along the way have me swooning. But of all the wonders Tassie has to offer, these kids really make me inspired. As a father myself, it is such a beautiful sight to see this group of young people learning the beekeeping ropes and falling in love with bees and all their quirks as they go.
The Tasmanian Junior Beekeepers recently did a wonderful segment for the ABC (Radio National) about their practices and their motivations. Coordinator Anita Long explained the activities that the young people learn as being part of this organisation, such as bee safety, opening and looking after a hive, and producing honey: “We like to teach the children virtually from the life cycle of the bee right through to the pollination and then onto the honey and all the steps in between.” Obviously well taught, these kids broke down some important aspects of life in the hive in a way that only they could. Here are some of the take-aways I couldn’t resist sharing.
On the importance of group work and having fun while getting the job done: “I love that they [the bees] can all hear each other even if they’re not near each other they can still hear each other by just doing like a dance.”
On alchemy, or turning something less desirable to gold: “To make it [honey] they actually eat the pollen, then throw it up. Then another bee eats it and throws it up through the hives. They all work together to make it.”
And, last but not least, on saving the planet: “They’re good for the environment and they help us stay alive.”
It’s obvious that the Tasmanian Junior Beekeepers have already learnt a thing or two-thousand about the art of keeping bees, and with one young keeper saying that beekeeping would always be in their future “either as a job or hobby”, I am very happy that the bees, and the world, are in the hands of these passionate, proactive and clever individuals.