This August I was honored and humbled to take on the roles as the 42nd President of the Western Apicultural Society. I was ushered in by a band of WAS board members who are passionate about the survival of the organization, and I want to see a positive succession plan take place to the next generation of leaders. Past President Steve Sweet’s conference in Boise was so well done, and he set up a truly optimistic and encouraging atmosphere for myself and Vice President Jaylene Naylor to step into. As president, it’s not only my job to keep the organization afloat, but also to plan the 2019 WAS Conference!! I am hoping to create not just a conference, but an experience that emphasizes what we are—a society.
Our theme is “Hive Mind for the Greater Good,” built on the values of persistence and authenticity and celebrating community, women in leadership, and, of course, bees and their keepers.
This weekend will be a mix of dynamic keynote talks, workshops built on the themes of art, beekeeping, social media and marketing, bee habitat conservation, education, native bees, and global research. I’m still rounding out the list, but so far you can look forward to seeing Katrina Klett, Elevated Honey Co. and Chinese Academy of Science; Hilary Kearny, Girl Nextdoor Honey & Beekeeping Like a Girl Blog; Meghan Milbrath, Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Anna Geiselman, Bee Amour Jewlery; Robin Jones, Honey Girl Grows; and the native bee team from the Logan, Utah, USDA-ARS-Pollinating Insects Research Unit.
In an effort to create community, we are also going to provide plenty of opportunities for networking:
.We will turn the microphone around to the attendees with a “storytelling hour” in the theme of #beekeeperfail (we all have them, let’s take some time to admit it and have a little fun!).
.We’ll give attendees the opportunity to sign up for the “Community Waggle Dance Tabletop Show,” where we will provide a bistro table to a selected group to create a “show and tell” display of something they are working on (e.g., a hive design, research, or a tech innovation).
.Staying with WAS’s ability to provide an intimate experience for conference speakers and attendees, we’ll have “Roundtable Speed Swarming.” Guests will rotate (in groups) to speaker-hosted tables and spend some time in dialogue with a leader they have been admiring from afar.
.Throughout the conference, we will provide multiple breaks, and a happy hour each evening to encourage beekeepers to meet up and waggle dance using social media, the Bumble Biz networking app, and our special-interest themed “hive towers.” The hives are the place to meet your new best friend, who’s also into beginning beekeeping, honey production, co-ops and supply chain management, bee habitat, native bees, bee-themed travel and service opportunities, and so on.
On Sunday, we will have a limited number of spots on an interactive bee habitat tour. We will load up in vans to travel to the Bee Girl organization’s “Seeds for Pollinators” research project at The Farm at Southern Oregon University, see our “Regenerative Bee Pasture” research project at the Sampson Creek Preserve, and also participate in native bee research with the USDA Logan Bee Lab team at Mount Ashland.
We also want to give you the opportunity to enjoy the gem that is Southern Oregon. Come join us before the conference officially begins to raft the Rouge River and take in a show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on Thursday! Sunday evening, we will officially close up the conference with a trip to a local winery with stellar views and bee-friendly practices.
Save the dates! Preconference Adventures: July 11 and Main Conference: July 12–14, 2019, Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites in Ashland, Oregon. Registration will open in February of 2019.
President, Western Apicultural Society