Lauren Park may be a classically trained musician, but the sound of the bees at her Annapolis Valley apiary is music to her ears.
“I do think that having the ear of a musician helps me a bit when I am in the field,” says Lauren, who is also President of the Nova Scotia Beekeepers’ Association.
“Bees buzz at a slightly different pitch if they’re in a good mood or a bad mood, and when a hive has lost its queen bee, they sound different again.”
The ability to gauge the mood of a hive is one of many skills that Lauren is now imparting as instructor of Introduction to Beekeeping at Kingstec Campus.
New program launched
Launched in spring 2016, this Continuing Education course combines classroom instruction and experiential learning to give students all the knowledge they need to start a hive as a hobby or a business venture.
Project Manager Janet Specht says the idea for the course originated in part with the Department of Agriculture. “They approached us with concerns that there weren’t enough pollinators for the province’s wild blueberry growers. Given our focus on artisanal food and beverages, as well as agriculture, we also saw it as a perfect fit for our strategic direction, and from that, we developed the course.”
Lauren has considerable expertise in beekeeping, not only from raising her own queen bees, but also her eight years of experience as manager of production at Cosman and Whidden Honey, Nova Scotia’s largest honey producing farm. With that background, Janet is particularly delighted to have Lauren as the course instructor.
“She is passionate and knowledgeable, which not only made her the first female president of the Nova Scotia Beekeepers’ Association, but also its youngest ever. For those reasons, we’re really fortunate to have her.”
Impressed by the enthusiasm of her students over the course of the first year, Lauren feels quite fortunate as well, “It has been more fun and more rewarding than I had initially expected. When we started, only one person had any experience with beekeeping, and now most of them have bees.”
Although it may be a bit soon to say what she has in mind for next year, Lauren does have an overall vision for what she’d like to achieve through the course.
“Some students will be looking at this as a hobby, while others may want to rent their hives to the province’s blueberry growers. There are so many options you can explore once you complete the course, and I want to provide the knowledge and skills so students have the confidence to do anything they want to do."