Or you may have seen her volunteering at the annual California Honey Bee Festival in Woodland, an all-day program co-sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center.
Or you may have seen her volunteering at the UC Davis Pollinator Education Program at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven and the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
But if you enroll in the California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP) at UC Davis, you definitely will see her—and know her as Wendy Mather, the program manager.
CAMBP, based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, educates stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping.
Members of the program serve as knowledgeable ambassadors who disseminate science-based information about the importance of honey bees, preserving bee health, and responsible beekeeping, Niño said.
Mather succeeds founding CAMBP manager Bernardo Niño, who now heads bee research and development at UBEES Inc. He continues to works with CAMBP as its educational advisor.
“CAMBP is designed for beekeeping at the urban and homesteader levels, and small hobbyists,” Mather said. “We work with beekeepers and bee clubs throughout the state to ensure an ongoing interest in keeping bees healthy.”
In 2016, 56 participants successfully passed the Apprentice Level exams and became Master Beekeepers in the Class of 2016. In 2017, 40 more joined them. Next on tap is the Apprentice Level exam for the Class of 2018. The prospective members, who all pre-registered earlier this year, will participate in the CAMBP Apprentice Exam Review on Saturday, Sept. 15, with the exam set on Sunday, Sept.15. Both will take place in the Laidlaw facility on Bee Biology Road.
Mather, an El Dorado Hills resident, has been keeping bees since 2007. “I learned from the Tech Transfer Team at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, on the job from my former boss at Nature's Own Design (NOD) Apiary Products, the manufacturer of Mite Away Quick Strips, and from the many customers I have had the honor of working with in the field.” While at NOD, she also served on the Honey Bee Health Coalition. She holds a Journeyman Beekeeper Certification from the University of Montana.
Born and raised in Montreal, Wendy moved to the Toronto area in her late teens. “I've always loved bees,” she said. “I've always loved watching bees forage, but I never imagined becoming a beekeeper! I was invited to cover a leave of absence for a position that required some apiculture knowledge, and was given a couple of hives to 'bring me up to speed'! I've been keeping bees ever since.”
Active in eight beekeeping or bee-affiliated associations, Mather is a member of CSBA, Delta Beekeepers, Sacramento Area Beekeepers, Nevada City Beekeepers, Colorado State Beekeepers, American Beekeepers Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the El Dorado Beekeepers' Association (she is a past secretary).
Beekeeping runs in the family. Wendy and her husband, Darrell, kept an apiary with 24 colonies in Cold Springs, Ontario, Canada before they moved to California. "Darrell and our eldest daughter, Aislyn, and I all took the 'Introduction to Beekeeping' offered through the Tech Transfer Team at the University of Guelph," Wendy said. "Darrell and I took that course twice. Darrell has successfully raised queens, too!" The couple and their three daughters participated in the extraction, packing and labeling. "Extraction weekend was also a great time for the extended family to gather and enjoy fun times together during the sweet harvest," Wendy recalled.
California Master Beekeeper Program Grant
"Honey bees are arguably the most important managed pollinator and are used as the primary pollinator for over 30 crops in California many of which are considered specialty crops such as almonds," wrote Niño in her successful grant application. "Therefore, the food security of our state and our nation depends largely on robust and healthy honey bee populations. However, in recent years, U.S. beekeepers have been reporting annual colony losses of up to 45 percent. These losses are attributed to many pathogens and pests associated with bees, as well as pesticide exposure and lack of access to plentiful and diverse forage."
"Colony losses have also prompted those who have never kept bees before to try their hand at beekeeping in an effort to help honey bee conservation," Niño pointed out. "Currently, in California there are an estimated 11,000 backyard and small-scale beekeepers, with many of them belonging to one of 35 beekeeper associations within the state. While these associations often serve as hubs of information transfer, the information provided is not always accurate or supported by research findings. Considering the importance of California to the US agriculture and the fact that almost 80 percent of the U.S. colonies start their pollination and honey production routes in almonds, it is clear that there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive, science-based, and state-wide apiculture curriculum."
The statewide funding that CAMBP received will enable the program to
- expand to the intermediate and advanced levels of the curriculum
- create partnerships with advisers in UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) offices throughout the state (UC Davis currently has collaborators in Fresno and San Diego);
- begin creating comprehensive web-based resources such as a library of online materials including an online classroom; and
- support the expansion of the program's educational apiary.
Those interested in enrolling in the California Master Beekeeper Program can find more information about the Apprentice Level at https://cambp.ucdavis.edu/levels/apprentice.
The second annual California Honey Festival, sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the City of Woodland, will offer scores of entertainment and educational activities and food and drink from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 5 in downtown Woodland. It's a free, family friendly event.
The festival was created in 2017 to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers, said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "Bees face many threats today—it is the goal of the festival to help attendees understand the importance of bees to food diversity in the United States. "
The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping. Through lectures and demonstrations, the crowd can learn about bees and how to keep them healthy. Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
One of the highlights: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, California's state apiculturist, and a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, will be "opening a bee hive to show attendees just how a bee hive works," said Harris. "The intriguing catch? The hive will be full of bees!"
At the festival, the crowd can also learn what to plant in their gardens to feed the bees and other pollinators. Honey bees pollinate one-third of the American diet. Proceeds garnered at the festival will benefit bee and pollinator non-profit organizations involved in research and education.
Restaurants will offer creative and tasty honey centric menus throughout the week, officials said. Bars will offer a selection of mixed drinks with mead or honey and local breweries will include honey beers on tap.
UC Davis Stage
The UC Davis Stage will be a beehive of activity. The schedule:
10:30 a.m.: Gene Brandi, past president of the American Beekeeping Federation, speaking on "Beekeeping and Honey Production in California"
11:15 a.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
11:45 a.m: James Sherman, chief operating officer of Pollinator.org, speaking on "Protecting Bees and All Pollinators at Home and on the Farm--What Can You Do?"
12:45 p.m.: Frank Golbeck, chief administrative officer of Golden Coast Mead
1 p.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
1:45 p.m. John Mola, winner of the 2018 Bee Symposium Graduate Student Poster Contest, speaking on"Where do Bees Go and How Do We Know?"
2:15 p..m.: World-class garden designer and author Kate Frey, speaking on "How to Design Bee-Friendly Gardens." She is the co-author the popular book, The Bee Friendly Garden, with Professor Gretchen LeBuhn of UC San Francisco
3:45 p.m.: Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs, Project Apis M, speaking on "California Almonds an the Upper Midwest"
3:45 p.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
Other activities will include the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's insect petting zoo and displays; educational displays spotlighting honey bees, honey, bee hives, bee health and the life cycle of honey bees; a 7-foot Honey Wheel and honey tastings; bee costumes for kids and adults, and information on the California Master Beekeeper Program, operated by Elina Lastro Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
Honey? It's there in all the cooking demonstrations:
Fire Brothers will prepare Smokey Chipotle Sauce a chicken street taco marinated with honey, served with a “honey slaw” and topped with Fire Brothers' Smoky Chipotle Sauce
11:30 to 12:15:
Mason Partak will prepare Honey Corn Bread Cobbler
Mani Niall will prepare honey and mustard vinaigrette, a savory rosemary semolina scone and chocolate mead truffles
1:30 to 2:15
Cache Creek: dish pending
Santana Diaz will prepare UC Davis Honey-Strawberry and Spring Pepper Vinaigrette, and UC Davis Honey-Rosemary and Apricot Chicken
Father Paddy's will prepare Justin Severson appetizer: honey almond panco crusted prawns main dish: honey soy-glazed chicken breast both herb basmati rice and daily vegetables dessert: bacon vanilla ice cream honey sundae with butterscotch crack nut cookies cocktail: and honey bourbon smash.
Busy Bee Kids' Zone
The "Busy Bee Kids' Zone" is billed as fun and educational insights for all. The Woodland Library holds the first slot, 11 to 11:45; Uncle Jer from 12 to 12:45; Planet Bee from 1 to 1:45; Uncle Jer from 2 to 2:45; Dilly Dally from 3 to 3:45, and Planet Bee from 4 to 4:45.
Plaza Main Stage Music
Entertainers will perform throughout the day.
10 to 11: Gold Souls
The Gold Souls will offer driving grooves of funk, the rich textures of soul, and the compelling storytelling of the blues. Launched in early 2017, the band combines their many influences to create a unique sound. This effort came to fruition with the release and tour of their self-titled EP last May.
11:30 12:30: City of Trees Brass Band
Over the last three years, City of Trees Brass Band has canvased Sacramento and San Francisco in an effort to deliver the spirit of New Orleans to the West Coast. Compiling 1,200 hours of street performance, dozens of educational clinics, and many inspirational assemblies for K-12th graders, the Brass Band takes pride in its contribution to Sacramento-area culture. In the ultimate test of brass and brawn, the Trees took a two-week trip to New Orleans where they said, "we discovered our sound not only holds up to the standards of the Crescent City, it belongs there."
1 to 2: The Sam Chance and the Untraditional
The Sam Chase and The Untraditional is described as "blending rock n 'roll and folk music while maintaining the sensibilities and attitudes from growing up on a healthy diet of punk rock." This band has performed at festivals such as Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, High Sierra Music Festival, and Kate Wolf Music Festival.
2:30 3:30: Cameron Calloway
Named The “Soul Child” by COACHELLA Magazine, Black/Filipino rhythm and blues singer Cameron Calloway is described as "a man of soul based in the heart of Sin City." The soul singer performed at the 5th annual Life Is Beautiful Music Festival, sharing the bill with chart topping acts including Chance The Rapper, Lorde, Muse, Gorillaz, Blink 182. aHe has performed with the likes of Grammy-nominated r&b/hip-hop band The Internet; soul sensation Allen Stone; Emily King; Mayer Hawthorne; multi award winning group Dru Hill; Robert Randolph and The Family Band;and The Stone Foxes. He also sang at tje11th Annual Joshua Tree Music Festival. He recently released his debut EP “My Neighborhood,” available on Spotify and Apple Music.
4 to 5: Mojo Green
This is a 7-piece, female-fronted, horn-heavy funk from Reno. They pride themselves on high energy and being "one of the funkiest live shows around." They have performed at tje Mateel Music Fest, Hangtown Halloween, For The Funk Of It, Squaw Valley Funk Fest, The Bounce, Ridgestock, Burning Man, Guitarfish, Enchanted Forest Gathering, Off Beat Music Fest-, Spookadelic Halloween Funktacular, Nugget Rib Cook Off, Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Lake Tahoe's Grand Opening, Sandpoint Summerfest, Concerts At Commons Beach,and Live at Lake View Tahoe, among others.
Mead and wineries featured are Strad in Sac, Honey Run, Gold Coast Mead, Nectar Creek, Crystal Basin Cellars and Running Rivers Wine Cellars
Breweries serving: Yolo Brewing, Lagunitas, Sudwerk and Blue Note.
Live Music in the Beer Garden
The schedule includes:
1: Boot Juice
2:30: Michael Ray
4: Elisa Sun
The inaugural California Honey Festival, set Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland, promises to be both educational and entertaining, says coordinator Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
The event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will stretch four blocks on Main Street and side streets. It is free and open to the public.
Visitors will learn about bees, honey and beekeeping; sample honey; taste mead at the Mead Speakeasy; listen to live entertainment, and browse the many booths, including six UC Davis exhibits: Department of Entomology and Nematology, Bohart Museum of Entomology, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (a bee friendly garden), Art-Science Fusion Program, graduate students (research posters), and the California Master Beekeeper Program, managed by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
Beekeepers will compete for prizes and bragging rights in the Wildflower Honey Contest (submissions are due March 15). See http://californiahoneyfestival.com/honey-contest/
The event is coordinated by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. Sponsors include the National Honey Board, the American Beekeeping Federation.
“The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping through this unique educational platform, to the broader public,” said Harris. “The scope of the event includes a culinary stage, a garden stage, a speakers' forum in the Woodland Opera House, kids' zone, live entertainment and loads of vendors and food. In addition, restaurants in Woodland will have honey centric menus and drinks enhanced with honey. Mead anyone? We have a Mead Speakeasy with five meaderies already signed up.”
Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board, based in Firestone, Colo., will be among those speaking on the Beekeeper Stage, one of five stages at the festival.
Among the other speakers:
- Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m., Paso Robles, and former manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility;
- Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- Vicki Wojcik, research director of Pollinator Partnership, San Francisco
- Gene Brandi of Gene Brandi Apiaries, Los Banos (he is active in the California State Beekeepers' Association, the American Beekeeping Federation and the National Honey Board)
On the culinary stage will be Marie Simmons of Eugene, Ore., an award-winning cookbook author, food writer and story teller; Frank Golbeck, CEO of Golden Coast Mead, San Diego; Toby Barajas, executive chef at Savory Café on Main Street, Woodland; and Casey Willard, executive chef for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Capay Valley.
Sharing the Gardening Stage will be Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture; UC Davis Arboretum; and Chris Casey, program representative for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road.
Among the entertainers, as of Feb. 24: Mike Blanchard and the Californios, City of Trees Brass Band, Boca do Rio, Joe Craven and the Sometimers, Jared Johnson, Hannah Mayree, and the Gold Souls.
Education platforms will feature the Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel, a project of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center; a bee demonstration hive; and posters on pollinators, the life cycle of bees, and bee threats, including pesticides, pests and pathogens.
Vendors will include beekeepers, bee clubs, honey packers, beekeeping supplies, crafts people, food vendors, Harris said. She is seeking volunteers to help with the festival; she may be reached at email@example.com or 530-754-9301. In addition, there's still time to fill out a vendor application form; sign up for educational and entertainment activities, and become a sponsor.
It will be a busy weekend, Harris said, noting that the third annual UC Davis Bee Symposium, "Keeping Bees Healthy," will take place on Sunday, May 7 in the UC Davis Conference Center, the day after the California Honey Festival. The educational program is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees. The event will include speakers, displays of graduate student research posters, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, "and much more," Harris said.
Keynote speaker at the Bee Symposium is Steve Sheppard, Thurber Professor of Apiculture and chair of the Department of Entomology, Washington State University, Pullman. Among the other speakers: Santiago Ramirez of the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology; Extension apiculturist Elina Nino of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; Maj Rundlof of the Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden, and Margaret Lombard, National Honey Board, based in Firestone, Colo. Registration begins March 1 at http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/2017-bee-symposium.