- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Take professional seamstress and aerobics instructor Teresa Hickman of Vacaville, Calif., who is devoting much of her time to sewing two-layer cotton face masks, now that her classes are on hiatus.
Over the last three weeks, the wife and mother of two gave away 72 fabric masks to family, friends, neighbors and business associates—and their friends and contacts.
Now, as a public service project, Teresa is crafting them at cost, or for a donation of $5 each. She just purchased $45 worth of elastic, and another shipment is back-ordered.
Teresa doesn't do custom masks but “if I have it, I'll make something.”
If you're an entomologist or someone who loves insects, this could be a good time to wear a face mask adorned with honey bees or dragonflies. (In our household, we're bee-ing close to honey bees and bumble bees via our face masks.)
Teresa also sews masks geared toward sports fans, dog and cat lovers, food enthusiasts, gardeners, movie-goers and more. The pattern themes range from A (apples) to Z (zebra) for both adults and children.
“I began sewing professionally 19 years ago,” Teresa said. “I started because I was sick. I had to stop teaching aerobics and I needed another business to get me through.”
Alarmed by the coronavirus pandemic, Teresa began sewing the face masks three weeks ago. “They're helpful to people so they can stay safe. And it's something that's useful; I like to make useful projects. Everything I make has a purpose to it.”
She wears them outside her home and encourages others to do so, too.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “considering altering the official guidance to encourage people to take measures to cover their faces amid the coronavirus pandemic,” according to an article published March 30 in the Washington Post.
The Post quoted Thomas Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, as recommending the general populace wear nonmedical masks and not the short-in-supply surgical and N95 masks for health workers.
The recommendation under consideration "calls for using do-it-yourself (DIY) cloth coverings, according to a second official who shared that thinking on a personal Facebook account,” the Post related. It's a way to help “flatten the curve.”
"Such DIY cloth masks would potentially lower the risk that the wearer, if infected, would transmit the virus to other people. Current CDC guidance is that healthy people don't need masks or face coverings."
That policy may indeed change. Fast masks can also serve as a reminder not to touch your face.
(Editor's Note: As of April 7, the face masks made by Teresa Hickman are now available only at Jackson Medical Supply, 506 Main St., Vacaville, 95688. For other inquiries, Teresa Hickman can be reached via “Handmade by Teresa” on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HandmadeByTeresa/)
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
You don't want to just keep bees, you want to devote your life to learning more about them and understanding them. And you want to engage in public service.
“Any universal and immutable scale with which to measure mastery of a human pursuit is at best elusive,” says Master Beekeeper Mea McNeil of San Anselmo, who doubles as a journalist, writing for beekeeping journals and other publications. “For those whose lives are devoted to understanding the wonders that are bees, every research answer begets a new question. So it is that an array of Master Beekeeper programs have been developed to bring dedicated beekeepers to a sophisticated level of knowledge that is defined by each course.”
McNeill, who is also an organic farmer, wrote those words for an article published 10 years ago in The American Bee Journal. Roger Morris of Cornell University taught the first known Master Beekeeping course, she related, and the first Master Beekeeping certificate went to beekeeper Peter Bizzosa in 1972.
The good news is that the University of California, Davis, is now planning its first-ever Master Beekeeping course. There are no times and dates. Not yet. It's all in the beginning stages, says Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
If you want to get on the Master Beekeeper list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from your email address or the address you want subscribed. In the subject line of your message, type in: subscribe camasterbee Firstname Lastname.
“I completed the Master Beekeeping Program at the University of Nebraska under Dr. Marion Ellis,” McNeil said, adding that it was quite comprehensive. “I learned enough about bees and beekeeping to become humbled at the vastness of the subject. An important component of that program is service, so, as a working journalist, I began writing about the bee world as a result.”
In her journal article, McNeil described several programs, but pointed out that “No two programs may be alike, but they spring from a common philosophy: the bees are precious and necessary, and those who know them well will serve to help them thrive. Most intend to create ambassadors for the bees, a mission to bring the public into greater awareness of their importance.”
These are university-level courses--extensive, detailed and challenging--with written, lab, oral and field exams. You have to know the material and be comfortable in explaining it. You may have to, for example, identify “a blob of unidentifiable substance” and “describe the cause and how to prevent it,” as McNeil wrote. One blob turned out to be “chewed up bees from skunks sucking the juices from bees, then spitting out bee parts.”
Take the Master Beekeeping Program at the University of Florida. It's an ongoing program that spans a minimum of five years. Participants work toward “advancing to the next level by reading books, demonstrating public service credits, participating in research projects, or extension programs, etc.," the website says. "In order to enter the program, you must begin by taking the written and practical examination for the Apprentice Beekeeper level." Master Beekeepers serve as an arm of the Extension services.
Meanwhile, in addition to the pending Master Beekeeper course, UC Davis offers beekeeping and queen-rearing courses for novices, intermediates and advanced beekeepers. If you're interested in joining the beekeeping course list, send an email to email@example.com from the address you want to subscribed to the list. In the subject line, type: subscribe elninobeelabclasses Firstname Lastname.