Carlson made his first batch of mead in 2009 while living in Tucson, Ariz. "I've also been brewing beer on and off for the last decade. I am excited to share my most recent mead brewing experiences which have focused on single source honey."
"I'm from a family of biologists and naturalists," Carlson related. "I was helping my father (an endangered fish specialist) sample freshwater fishes of New York as soon as I could walk and carry a bucket. My mother was a public school teacher specializing in environmental education. My brother and sister both have PhDs in biology and my sister specialized in pollination biology. As a result, we all enjoy physiology and monitoring native bees on our local blooms.:
- Understand honey and mead using comparative sensory analysis and other scientific tools
- Review options for sanitizing equipment
- Introduce the process of fermentation
- Engage in a honey and a mead tasting
Special guest Michael Zilber, owner and mead maker at Heidrun Meadery, Point Reyes Station, "will join us at 11:15 to share his passion and lead us in a mead tasting," said Wendy Mather, program manager of the California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP).
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty directs CAMBP, which uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. Its vision, as detailed on its website, is to train 2500 Apprentice beekeepers over the next five years "so they can effectively communicate the importance of honey bees and other pollinators within their communities, serve as mentors for other beekeepers, and become the informational conduit between the beekeeping communities throughout the state and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) staff." Check out the website for upcoming courses. For more information on the program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There's a "me" in mead. The American Mead Makers Association says mead has exploded 130 percent since 2011, making it "the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category in the United States."
And now a me-and-you mead course is buzzing our way.
The UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP) has announced it will sponsor an online introduction to mead on Saturday, May 1. It's a time to learn, taste and sip--and you can do so with friends who also register for the course, says CAMBP program manager Wendy Mather.
The virtual event is set from 9 a.m. to noon. Master Beekeeper candidate Mark Carlson "will lead us in a general mead and honey appreciation class," said Mather, adding "We will leave the mead-making lessons to the experts at the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. "Mark will identify what makes one single source honey different from another, presenting them both from a flavor perspective, but also as a scientist who loves chemistry. The emphasis will be on nectar origins and equipment sanitation for the most part." Special guest Michael Zilber, owner and mead maker at Heidrun Meadery, Point Reyes Station, "will join us at 11:15 to share his passion and lead us in a mead tasting."
The course, "Introduction to Mead 2021," is designed to:
- Understand honey and mead, using comparative sensory analysis and other scientific tools
- Review options for sanitizing equipment
- Introduce the process of fermentation, and
- Engage in a honey and a mead tasting
The event is open to the public at $40 per ticket. Register at https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/718.
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty directs the California Master Beekeeper Program, which uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. Its vision, as detailed on its website, is to train 2500 Apprentice beekeepers over the next five years "so they can effectively communicate the importance of honey bees and other pollinators within their communities, serve as mentors for other beekeepers, and become the informational conduit between the beekeeping communities throughout the state and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) staff." Check out the website for upcoming courses. For more information on the program, contact email@example.com.
"Honey bees contribute nearly $20 billion to the value of U.S. crop production," according to the American Beekeeping Federation's Pollination Facts. "This contribution, made by managed honey bees, comes in the form of increased yields and superior quality crops for growers and American consumers. A healthy beekeeping industry is invaluable to a healthy U.S. agricultural economy. As honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bee pollination. One crop, almonds, depends entirely on the honey bee for pollination at bloom time."
CAMPF, launched and directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, sought to raise funds for its science-based Beekeeper's Apprentice course, described as "educational, engaging and entertaining for all ages." (The month-long crowdfunding is over but you can still donate to CAMPF here.)
As CAMBP says on its website: "The California Master Beekeeper Program is a continuous train-the-trainer effort. The CAMBP's vision is to train 2500 Apprentice beekeepers over the next 5 years so they can effectively communicate the importance of honey bees and other pollinators within their communities, serve as mentors for other beekeepers, and become the informational conduit between the beekeeping communities throughout the state and UCCE (UC Cooperative Extension) staff."
"Participants have the opportunity to receive an outstanding California-centric science-based education, and are current on the latest studies on honey bees and beekeeping, which are constantly evolving. Researched-based apiculture training helps to minimize potentially disastrous consequences, such as increased pest and pathogen transfer, or the spread of overly defense honey bees, which are considered a public-health risk. Our mission is to use science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping."
Like to enroll in a Master Beekeeper course? Check out the website for more information. You can also contact CAMPF at firstname.lastname@example.org; Niño at email@example.com or program manager Wendy Mather at firstname.lastname@example.org or other team members at https://cambp.ucdavis.edu/people.
Meanwhile, even honey bees can "high five."/span>
Amy Hustead of Grass Valley, a veteran beekeeper who also happens to be the first and only beekeeper in her family, is now certified by the California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), headquartered at the University of California, Davis, as its first-ever Master Beekeeper.
She is no novice. She knows bees. She's a seven-year beekeeper and president of the Nevada County Beekeepers Association.
CAMBP, founded and co-directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. It offers three levels of certification (Apprentice, Journey and Master). Niño launched the first Apprentice class in 2016.
Hustead's passion is education and outreach. Her Master Capstone project involved teaching two, three-hour online CAMBP classes (“Planning Ahead for Your First Hives,” and “Working Your Colonies.”) She designed, developed and successfully delivered "Intermediate Backyard Beekeeping," an in-depth, online, four-hour course on science-based beekeeping for the hobbyist and sideliner. Topics included winter and spring preparation, swarm prevention, active swarming, splits and nucs (nucs, or nucleus colonies, are small colonies created from larger colonies), diseases, nutrition, maximizing honey production, and harvesting honey, wax, propolis and pollen.
Meet Amy Hustead
Amy Hustead, a wife, mother of 9-year-old twin boys, and a seven-year beekeeper, said she really enjoys CAMBP. “It has allowed me to meet some really excellent beekeepers. I plan to continue to teach classes and help educate people on the biology of bees.”
Highly praised for her work, she has drawn such comments as "the class exceeded my expectations”; her “lecture style is professional, yet warm, which is needed in the context of Zoom classes”; and she “keeps an open mind about other beekeepers' goals.” Wrote another: “Amy is very informed and easy to follow, and shares her information with the right amount of applicable detail for the intermediate.”
“I dabbled in homesteading when I first moved to the foothills, and like a lot of people, started out keeping chickens. I think I wanted to get goats but my husband was not on board, so I decided to get bees instead.”
As a veterinary technician, she works in low-cost spay and neuter programs. "I also volunteer with an organization that provides veterinary care to pets of homeless and low-income people in the Sacramento area."
Bees keep her occupied at several locations. “I have between 15-20 personal colonies at three different locations,” Hustead related. ”I also manage a few colonies for other people.”
As it turns out, this year is not a good year for bees. “Mostly my bees aren't doing well this year,” she said. “The nectar flow was non-existent, and the recent fires haven't helped. For the first year ever I am harvesting no honey from my yard at home.”
Hustead home-schools her twins. “I am very serious about home-schooling my kids, and part of our curriculum is extensive travel.” The Hustead family has visited a number of states in the nation, and has already been to Mexico, Ireland, Costa Rica. “We are planning a Europe trip as soon as possible.“
Since late 2016, CAMBP has certified 206 Apprentices and 22 Journey-level beekeepers, who have volunteered more than 24,510 service hours in science-based education and outreach in beekeeping and environmental stewardship. Total value of the service hours: $623,289. Total number of individuals served: 98,618.
CAMBP's current 53 Apprentice candidates will take their online exam Sept. 12. To pass, they must score at least 75 percent. “Candidates will upload videos or partake in 'live from their apiary' Zoom sessions to satisfy the requirements of the practical rubric,” Mather said.
The Journey-level candidates have completed the online written portion of their certification and their videos and Zoom practicals are in progress. “So far, we're proud to announce that all 15 Journey level candidates scored above 80 percent on their written exams, and their videos and Zoom practicals are looking great!” Mather commented.
The Master level usually takes an average of five years to achieve. Some candidates choose to remain as Apprentice or Journey-level beekeepers. CAMBP offers pre-approved Master Capstone Tracks, but also encourages candidates to follow their passion if their favorites are not on the list, which includes:
- Native Bees and Pollinator Gardens
- Commercial Beekeeping
- Scientific Research
- Education and Outreach
- Policy for Honey Bees and Native Pollinators
Seven Master-Level Candidates
The seven Master-level candidates for the 2020-21 season are pursuing a variety of projects, including mapping drone congregation areas, authoring a book on the history of honey in ancient Greece, establishing a pollen library for the state of California, starting a commercial beekeeping business, and training a “detector dog” in the apiary.
To maintain active status as a Master Beekeeper with CAMBP, members are required to perform and log 25 hours of BEEs (Beneficial Education Experiences). Hustead will perform a minimum of 25 volunteer hours annually. Her volunteer service, at the minimum, is valued at $25.43 per hour or about $600 per year.
“Amy will have no problem doing that as she's active as the president of her local beekeeping club,” Mather said, “and she mentors many new beekeepers to help them become science-based stewards and ambassadors of honey bees and beekeeping.”
Another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic: the annual California Honey Festival, which was scheduled May 2 in historic downtown Woodland.
This year would have been the fourth annual.
But, of course, and rightfully so, the cancellation is for our protection. It needed “not to happen.”
The California Honey Festivalevent, launched in 2017 and sponsored by the City of Woodland and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, is an all-day, free festival that usually draws a crowd of some 30,000.
The event aims to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers, according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. Through lectures and demonstrations, the festival-goers learn about bees and how to keep them healthy. Major issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
Yes, those major issues still face the bees. But now we humans face a major issue of our own: a deadly virus. We are sheltering-in and social distancing. Bees are social insects and are out foraging for nectar, pollen, propolis and water. Their colony is one huge superorganism, with a queen bee, workers and drones. They all depend on one another to make the hive run smoothly. No queen bee, no colony. No workers, no colony. No drones, no colony.
As of 4:30 p.m. today, Covid-19 has infected more than 1.9 million people, and sadly, more than 118,000 people worldwide have perished, according to Johns Hopkins University. Reportedly, the United States is “nearing the peak right now.”
Stay safe out there!