- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Congrats to the UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP) on winning a coveted Citation of Excellence award from the UC Davis Staff Assembly for "outstanding achievements and notable contributions" in disseminating science-based beekeeping information through a network of organizations and trained volunteers since 2016.
Honored with the Faculty-Staff Partnership Award: CAMBP director Elina Lastro Niño, associate professor of Cooperative Extension and a member of the faculty of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and co-program manager Wendy Mather, staff. Niño founded CAMBP in 2016.
They will receive the award from Chancellor Gary May at a fall reception.
Staff Assembly officials announced the winners this week and it's perfect timing, as Saturday, May 20 is World Bee Day! (Shouldn't every day be World Bee Day?)
"The award seeks to highlight teams who actively develop and encourage faculty/staff partnerships and as a result are able to make notable contributions to UC Davis that contribute to the University's Mission of Teaching, Research, and Service; and who exemplify outstanding achievement and/or service," according to Staff Assembly officials.
Since 2016, CAMBP has:
- Given 32,000 hours of volunteer time (Beneficial Educational Experiences) and served 186,630 individuals in education, outreach and beekeeping mentorship. If a volunteer hour is worth $26.87, the program has given $859,840 back to the state of California in service of science-based beekeeping and honey bee health.
- Enrolled 185 Honey Bee Ambassadors (a level established in 2021), 494 Apprentice, 93 Journey level candidates and certified 20 Master level beekeepers. There are 12 members in 2023 participating in their Master Capstone projects.
- Since the team began tracking Continuing Education Experiences in 2020, they're recorded 3752 hours
- They're also working on updating a safety manual.
Thanks to generous support from the Office of the Chancellor, Staff Assembly will award the staff winners with a total of some $17,000. Niño is one of three faculty recognized. (See list of all recipients.)
Elina Niño, in addition to being the Extension apiculturist for the state of California, a member of the entomology-nematology faculty, director of CAMBP, and a honey bee researcher, serves as the faculty director of the UC Davis Bee Haven, a half-acre bee garden on Bee Biology Road.
"My primary responsibilities are in providing professional support and education to California's beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, and other stakeholder groups," she writes on the CAMBP website. "I teach numerous beginner, intermediate and advanced beekeeping workshops, the culmination of which has resulted in the establishment of the first ever California Master Beekeeper Program serving beekeepers of California and neighboring states. I am also currently working on the development of apiculture education for veterinarians in collaboration with the Western Institute of Food Safety and Security (WIFFS). In addition to teaching formal workshops I serve on various commodity boards as a research liaison and adviser allowing me to directly impact California Agriculture. (See more)
Wendy Mather, a beekeeper since 2007, says she enjoys sharing her passion for bees, education, environmental stewardship and program design with the CAMBP. She achieved her Journey Level Beekeeper certification from the University of Montana in 2015. She owned and operated Hardscrabble Honey, self-described as "a modest sideline operation in central Ontario which averaged 1000 kgs of clean wildflower honey each year." She also worked as the Honey Bee Health tech representative for NOD Apiary Products in Canada and the United States.
As a social service worker and adult educator, Mather taught community development, program design and portfolio development at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario. (Kian Nikzad serves as the co-program manager of CAMBP but as a new employee, was ineligible to be nominated.)
Citations of Excellence
UC Davis Staff Assembly's annual Citations of Excellence awards program provides recognition for UC Davis and UC Davis Health individual staff and staff teams, who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in one of the following areas: teaching, research, service, innovation, supervision, mentorship, team awards and faculty/staff partnership award.
Nominating the Bee Team were Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist and a CAMBP Bee Ambassador; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology; and Nora Orozco, chief administrative officer for the Phoenix Cluster, Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Department of Plant Pathology.
The nominators wrote that the bee team "provides a program of learning, teaching, research, and public service, goes above and beyond in delivering comprehensive, science-based information about honey bees and honey bee health. They continually and consistently develop, improve, and refine their statewide curriculum that educates stewards in a train-the-trainer program to disseminate accurate, timely, and crucial information." (See more on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website)
CAMBP serves a crucial need. Note that honey bees pollinate more than 30 California crops, including almonds, a $5 billion industry (no bees, no pollination, no almonds). Indeed, California produces more than a third of our country's vegetables and three-quarters of our fruits and nuts. However, colony losses are alarming due to pesticides, pests, predators and pathogens.
Want to be "bee" part of "The Bee Team" and become a honey bee ambassador, or keep bees, reaching whatever level you want: apprentice, journey and/or master? You can sign up for classes and mastery levels on the viewer-friendly CAMPB website at https://cambp.ucdavis.edu/.