This September, the culmination of 40 years of Western Apicultural Society activities was celebrated in Davis, California.
Dr. Eric Mussen, 2017 WAS President, convened a stellar program and kicked off the first day, sharing the early stage with Dr. Norman Gary. Our two Founders nostalgically reflected on “back to our roots” concerning the Society’s origins, as they put into perspective our humble beginnings. These early reminisces were quickly followed by top-flight presentations running the gamut of beekeeping topics relevant in the West today. Journal readers, keep an eye out for summaries of the informative presentations that we all enjoyed in Davis in this and future issues.
Certainly, our speakers represented the most current state of apicultural science and kept the rapt attention of the audience. In addition to sessions at the conference hall, we enjoyed an afternoon at the UC Davis Bee Biology Facility, with Bernardo Nino providing a hands-on guide to currently popular hives; Randy Oliver – in his typically effervescent style – demonstrating how to efficiently sample for Varroa and Nosema; Dr. William’s grad students informing on pollinator plant selection; and Christine Casey leading a tour of the pollinator plants in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven.
Thursday evening’s activities continued the WAS tradition, established in 2014, dedicated to the “Next Generation of Beekeepers,” as Oregon Director and 2nd Vice President Sarah Red-Laird – the Bee Girl – led a breakout session at the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Building. Sarah’s “Next Gen” initiative is geared toward encouraging more young beekeepers to take an active role in organized beekeeping. Her outreach program brings many benefits for both new and long-time members and will continue to be emphasized in WAS’s future activities.
Prior WAS conferences have been convened throughout Western North America over the past four decades. With the conclusion of our most recent and highly successful forum, Dr. Mussen completed his record fifth term as WAS President and re-established a very high Conference standard. Each of the 31 prior WAS leaders, and Dr. Mussen in particular, deserves our sincere gratitude for building a reputation for well-received beekeeping conferences across the far-flung West.
Of course, WAS is also known for the Journal, which has blossomed into a colorful quarterly production that reflects the high quality of our organization. Thanks, too, to our valued sponsors who share the Journal’s success through their valuable support.
Unforeseen back in 1977, when WAS was originally organized, new forms of communication have sprung up thanks to the ubiquitous presence of the internet. In response, WAS has committed to a top-drawer web presence showcasing the Journal; regularly dispatching electronic notices across the internet through “Items for Beekeepers;” and thanks to Sarah Red-Laird’s capable assistance, an impressive and informative presence on Facebook.
We are fortunate that our prior leaders have navigated WAS through decades of issues important to Western beekeepers. Their recent reflections on 40 years of progress helps to focus our efforts on how we might forge continued improvement.
As WAS’ new President, I will be encouraging each State and Provincial director to develop consistent lines of communication with their respective local organizations. WAS’s foundation is education. I will be convening a group to identify the essentials of local educational programs (state-wide Master Beekeeping Programs, etc.) that will allow WAS to separate the wheat from the chaff and offer formal endorsements of worthy educational programs.
The future of any organization is guided by the youth involved in the program. Therefore, the WAS Board will also be expected to join Sarah Red-Laird’s “Next Gen” program to bring new, energetic members into the fold.
2018 WAS Conference – Boise, ID
Finally: Save the date!! Our next Annual Conference is scheduled for September 14-16, 2018, here in Boise, Idaho. For our next conference, timing will change from a mid-week rendezvous to a Friday through Sunday session, with the intention of appealing to the busy schedules of our Next Gen beekeepers. Stay tuned to the next Journal for an announcement on the venue and confirmation on speakers coming to town.
In the meantime, here’s hoping that your bees are ready for winter, your mites are under control, your equipment is prepared for paint and assembly and ready to put out next Spring.
Whazzup? Boise, 2018. WAS Up!