The California Honey Festival, set Saturday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Woodland, will focus on honey, bees, plants and pollination.
"UC Davis will have a slimmed down version this year," said Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, and a co-founder of the event. Launched in 2017, the Honey Festival hasn't been held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the events on tap Saturday:
- The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center will showcase its honey tasting wheel and offer free honey tasting.
- The California Master Beekeeper Program will staff two educational booths. Visitors can examine a bee observation hive, check out the beekeeping equipment and peer through microscopes. Kids' activities are also planned.
- The Bohart Museum of Entomology of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematolgoy will showcase bee diversity in its specimen drawers. Its live "petting zoo" will include Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects (walking sticks) that folks can hold, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
- The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden will address pollinator needs and gardening.
- The Woodland Public Library will offer a children's reading hour.
- Uncle Jer's Traveling Bee Show will provide educational performances.
- The UC Davis Bookstores booth will contain honey, books, and other gifts for sale.
- Visitors can don a bee costume and get their picture taken in the UC Davis Pollination Park, a collaboration with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.
Harris said the festival will include live music, a beer and mead garden, and about 100 vendors selling everything from food to plants to arts and crafts. Admission to the festival is free. The first festival drew some 30,000 visitors.
An after-party is planned at The Hive, owned by Z Specialty Food, Woodland. Advance registration is required. Access https://zspecialtyfood.com/event/california-honey-festival-after-party/
(Note: This year the UC Davis Bee Haven, operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won't be able to participate due to scheduling conflicts, said academic program management manager Christine Casey.)
The 20,000-square-foot facility, which houses the Moon Shine Trading Company, Island of the Moon Apiaries, and The Hive, includes a processing plant, a tasting room (honey and mead), a gift shop, an outdoor courtyard and a pollinator garden.
Amina Harris, executive director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, is the self-described "queen bee" of the family-owned business. Her son, Josh Zeldner, is the nectar director, and Liz Luu, formerly of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, is the marketing manager and tasting room manager.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology will display bee specimens, and Kathy Keatley Garvey of the Department of Entomology and Nematology will showcase 24 images of honey bees--most taken in her family's pollinator garden.
Nature Day is a family event. It will include games, an observation hive, a scavenger hunt and more.
Here's what's planned:
Don't Toss Those Scraps! – Natural Dye Workshop
Time: All day
Learn how to utilize food scraps and create one-of-a-kind dyes for clothing, fabric and yarn. You'll be provided white cloth, avocado pits and black beans. What's with food waste? Each year Americans waste 108 billion pounds of food, contributing to extensive environmental, economic, and societal impacts.
Miridae Living Labs
Time: All day
You'll get to play with seed bombs, bugs, and plants with Miridae Living Labs! This is a non-profit, Sacramento-area organization dedicated to using native insects and plants as tools for education, research, and community engagement. The business "strives to generate positive ecological changes in our communities under the guidance and leadership of community members," a spokesperson said.
Miridae Mobile Nursery
Noon: Container Gardening with California Native Plants (first-come, first-serve basis with purchase of plant)
Miridae Mobile Nursery is a customized box truck that transforms into a curbside native plant shop. Its goal is "to bring people together through plants and gardening." All profits from its sales of native plants support its science education, non-profit Miridae Living Labs.
The Hive Nature Loop Scavenger Hunt
Time: All Day
Grab a pamphlet and go on a scavenger hunt for plants in The Hive Nature Loop. Find all the plants and show to a team member to win a prize.
Pollinator Garden Tour
Time: 1 p.m.
Join plant curator Rowan Boswell for a tour of the two-acre pollinator gardens at The Hive. It's billed as: "Get inspired by our oasis and outdoor courtyard, designed to meet the needs of our community and native species. Discover pollinator favorites, California natives, and drought-tolerant plants."
Bohart Museum of Entomology
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis will display specimens of bees. The insect museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, is the home of a global collection of eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas); and a gift shop.
Some 24 images of honey bees by award-winning photographer Kathy Keatley Garvey of UC Davis will be showcased. She writes a daily (Monday-Friday) Bug Squad blog on the UC ANR website.
The Hive Facility Tour
Times: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Visitors are invited to tour the four-year development, created to educate the public on honey, bees, and pollination. Nectar director Josh Zeldner will guide the tours of 20,000-square-foot, Zero Net Energy facility.
Z Specialty Food began as the Moon Shine Trading Company, founded in 1979 by Ishai Zeldner (1947-2018), who died at age 71. He worked as a commercial beekeeper and studied beekeeping at UC Davis. He became fond of yellow starthistle honey. "He loved it so much that he began giving it away to his friends, and quickly realized he was going broke doing so," Harris remembers. His business grew to become Z Specialty Food.
It was his lifelong dream to open "The Hive."
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute is gearing up for two virtual events, one in September and the other in October:
- "Sips and Bites: The Hidden World of Honey" from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9 on Zoom.
- Honey Sensory Workshop from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.on Thursday, Oct. 22.
Honey Sensory Workshop
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, said the Honey Sensory Workshop is a "one-day immersion into the complex world of honey. Each student will be guided through tastings and discussions laying the groundwork to understand the variety and nuance of honey." Master presenters are master taster and Italian Certified Expert Honey Taster, Orietta Gianjorio and Amina Harris, educator and founding director and the co-owner of Z Specialty Food, LLC, Woodland.
The course will cover all the basics through lectures and tastings including:
- Sensory evaluation and descriptive analysis
- Mono-varietal honeys
Registration closes Oct. 1. The cost is $160. More information is here.
Sips and Bites: The Hidden World of Honey
This event is part of the Sips and Bites series, "which explores the stories behind foods and drinks with winemakers, brewers, and culinary innovators with tastings and conversations about what inspires them to make their wines, beers, and foods," said Harris, who will serve as moderator. Registration is underway.
Trevor and Claire Tauzer, founders of Sola Bee Farms, Woodland, will discuss how sustainable beekeeping is key to the future of agriculture. They will elaborate on what goes into making honey from a single floral source and yield information about the taste.
Trevor Tauzer, beekeeper and general manager of Tauzer Apiaries/Sola Bee Farms, created Sola Bee Farms in 2011 to sell the family's varietal honey directly to customers. He grew up beekeeping with his father, and following his graduation from UC Santa Cruz, returned to beekeeping in 2008. Trevor says he enjoys running his second-generation family business with his wife Claire, and teaching their 3.5 year old and 1-year-old about honey bees.
Claire Tauzer is the community outreach and brand manager of Tauzer Apiaries/Sola Bee Farms. A former high school teacher, she applies her educational background to help communicate and promote the importance of professional pollination and the benefits of local varietal honey. Sola Bee Farm's Wild Blackberry honey won a Good Food Award in 2019.
Registrants are asked to order a special three-pack of Sola Bee Farms honey (cost is $30) by Wednesday, Sept. 2 to ensure arrival by Wednesday, Sept. 9. (See more information)
The Honey and Pollination Center's recently scheduled Mead Making 301 course, initially set Sept. 14-17, has been canceled.
The conference, “Multidimensional Solutions to Current and Future Threats to Pollinator Health,” took place in the ARC Ballroom and covered a wide range of topics in pollinator research: from genomics to ecology and their application to land use and management; to breeding of managed bees; and to monitoring of global pollinator populations, according to the co-chairs, pollination ecologist and professor Neal Williams and Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, coordinated the conference, with events manager Elizabeth Luu praised as "the heavy hitter." (See agenda.)
"This was the fourth International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy," Williams said. "Each time we try to add new elements that address emerging challenges and new directions in research. This year's sessions felt as fresh and innovative as ever, adding symposia on climate change, innovative monitoring and data collection, and urban bees. By restricting presenters to those who had not presented in the past six years we also added new voices and perspectives."
"We also grew," Williams said "In the past the conference has been just under 200 attendees. This year it topped 250, and we had to turn away several people because we simply could not fit more into the space. We added a second evening of posters to provide more time to interact. The response was overwhelming with 112 poster presenters!"
"We also added more explicit policy elements by creating a set of ViewPOINTS documents summarizing key areas in pollinator biology and heath that target policy makers. This has allowed for collaborative interaction across the attendees and a set of deliverable products from our interactions."
"It was an amazing team effort pulling it all together," Williams said. "Liz Luu from the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center was in a word, fantastic, keeping every thing and everyone together. The HPC really showed what it can do and what tremendous value it adds to our campus. The organizing committee worked so well together, sharing the load throughout. A great set of colleagues!"
Keynote speakers were Lynn Dicks, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, England, and Christina Grozinger, distinguished professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, Pennsylvania State University.
Dicks keynoted the conference on Thursday, July 18, discussing "The Importance of People in Pollinator Conservation." Grozinger delivered the keynote address, "Bee Nutritional Ecology: From Genes to Landscapes" on Friday, July 19.
Elina Lastro Niño delivered a presentation on the California Master Beekeeper Program, which she founded and directs. UC Davis community ecologist Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, presented a talk on her hummingbird research.
Two receptions took place at the Honey and Pollination Conference on Old Davis Road: the opening night reception on Wednesday, July 17 and a honey-tasting and dinner reception on Thursday, July 18.
The next International Pollinator Conference will take place at Pennsylvania State University. Grozinger and Rufus Isaacs of Michigan State University launched the conference in 2012. They are held every third year.
An image of the late Robbin Thorp (1933-2019), UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology and a global authority on bees, held a prominent place at the conference. He assisted many scientists who have attended the conferences.
The third annual California Honey Festival, sponsored by the City of Woodland and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 4 in downtown Woodland. It's free and family friendly.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says the event will include a cooking stage, a UC Davis educational stage, a kids' zone, a refreshment zone (beer and wine) and live entertainment.
Among the featured attractions will be a screened bee tent, where festival-goers can see beekeeper Bernardo Niño, staff research associate III in the Elina Niño lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, open the hive and point out the queen, worker bees and drones. Bernardo is the educational supervisor of the California Master Beekeeper Program, directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and operated by the Niño lab.
"Bernardo will be taking the girls through their paces three times during the day," Harris quipping, referring to the worker bees. This will be at 11 a.m., 1:15 and 3:30 p.m.
Kitty Bolte from the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation, the first speaker on the UC Davis Educational Stage at 10:15, will welcome Woodand as a "Bee City." Plans also call for UC Davis to be named "Bee University" on Saturday, Harris said. "Rachel Davis, director of the Gateway Gardens, Arboretum has been spearheading this designation."
Pollination ecologist and professor Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will speak on "The Huge Impact of Native Bees" at 12:30 p.m. on the UC Davis Educational Stage.
The UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven will feature a pollinator garden installation highlighting what and how to plant for pollinators, along with displays about common bees found in gardens, said Christine Casey, academic program management officer and manager of the half-acre garden, located on Bee Biology Road. She also will be speaking on bee gardening at 2:45 p.m. on the UC Davis Educational Stage.
The UC Davis area, located in the Woodland Opera House Plaza, in the middle of the festival activities, will be abuzz with new additions, Harris said. Newcomers to the festival include the World Food Center Plant Breeders, UC Davis entomology students. (See schedule.)
California Master Beekeepers will be teaching on the educational platforms at the festival. The Pollinator Posse of the Bay Area, headed by Tora Rocha and Terry Smith, will be on hand to explain the importance of pollinators and what everyone can do to help them.
Live entertainment will include Jayson Angove, Jessica Malone, Big Sticky Mess, Bocado Rio, Case Lipka, David Jacobin, Katgruvs, accordionist Jared Johnson, The City of Trees Brass Band and Double X Brass Band. Other live entertainment includes Space Walker and the Hand Stand Nation.
The festival, launched in 2017, 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. Last year's festival drew 30,000 people and some 16 California honey companies.
The California Honey Festival's mission: 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.