Campus will be buzzing with excitement this weekend as the EWU community comes together to celebrate all things bees.
Activities will begin with a “HappBee Hour,” an educational fair promoting pollinator protection. Students, faculty and staff are invited to learn about the biology and conservation of bees from noon-2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, in PUB 317.
Then on Saturday, Feb. 9, Eastern faculty members will team up with the Washington State Beekeepers Association to host this year’s Pacific Northwest Beekeeping Conference on the Cheney campus. The event runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m., in Hargreaves 201.
Organizers say with honeybee colonies dwindling at unsustainable rates, the need for informed beekeepers is on the rise.
“One out of every three bites of food we take is because of an insect pollinator,” said Jenifer Walke, a microbiologist and EWU associate professor of biology. “Without them, we would have a big problem with food supply.”
Walke will be among a variety of speakers sharing insights at the conference. Her research focuses on the role microbes in the bees’ guts play in boosting their immunity and how environmental factors can interfere with this process.
The conference’s keynote speaker, Research Conservationist Sarah Red-Laird (aka the Bee Girl), will be speaking about her work and how people can get involved in beekeeping efforts. As the founder and Executive Director of the Bee Girl Organization, president of the Western Apicultural Society, and Kids and Bees program director for the American Beekeeping Federation, Red-Laird’s mission is to educate the public on the conservation of bees and, in turn, our food.
“We’re here to educate students on the factors that are causing declines in bee populations, and why bees are so important,” said Walke. “We hope to make connections for students by providing ways for them to get involved on campus.”
To wrap up the weekend, Red-Laird, EWU Biology, and Mobius Science Center will be coordinating a series of activities in Spokane. From 10:30 a.m.- noon, volunteers will learn how to conduct kid friendly bee-outreach programs in a “train the teacher” workshop hosted by Red-Laird. Following the workshop, volunteers will have the opportunity to put their newfound skills to the test with the Kids and Bees Program, a hand-on activity that will include beeswax candle-making, honey testing, and more.
To register a spot for HappBee Hour, email BioOfficeStudent@ewu.edu. Individuals are encouraged to RSVP as soon as possible, as there is limited space.
Purchase tickets for the Pacific Northwest Beekeeping Conference here.