Monday, March 19, 2012

Big Apple Apiary Beekeeping Apprenticeship

Brand new rooftop apiary seeks 12 beekeeping apprentices for the 2012 bee season (April through October or November). Working in small teams, our apprentices will gain hands-on experience in both basic and advanced beekeeping techniques, with a focus on treatment-free and organic beekeeping, and have the opportunity to pay it forward and mentor next year’s students.

This 20 hive apiary – poised on an expansive rooftop in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard – will play host to NYC’s first hands-on beekeeping training program. Through education and outreach we aim to foster an inclusive community of new beekeepers and arm them with the tools they need to play an active role of the long-term sustainability of our city. The apiary is a joint project of Brooklyn Grange Farm and Timothy O’Neal of Borough Bees.

Benefits & Responsibilities
Our apprenticeship program is structured to give you all the first-hand knowledge you need to start a beehive of your own on your roof, community garden, or backyard. We will provide teams of two to three apprentices with several beehives, beekeeping equipment, basic safety gear, and close guidance through a season of hive management in a small group setting. Our goal is to give you the training you need to apply your knowledge independently by the end of the season, and leave prepared to be a mentor to new beekeepers next year. We’ll also arrange for a few field trips and special guests throughout the season to welcome you into the greater beekeeping community in New York City and beyond.

Apprentices will work directly with experienced beekeepers and gain hands-on experience that covers the gamut of beekeeping tasks: basic hive inspections, pest identification and management, swarm prevention, requeening, combining and splitting hives, and honey harvesting. You’ll also learn about more advanced techniques like cell size regression, queen breeding, and managing top-bar colonies.

Apprentices are required to devote an average of 3-4 weekend hours per week to the maintenance of their hives. On a typical weekend the instructor will give a quick, hands-on lesson (30-60min) using a demonstration hive on what to look out for at that point in the season, at which point apprentices will break into small teams to inspect their own hives under supervision from the instructor. Teams are responsible for maintaining close records of hive conditions and manipulations. Some heavy lifting required, must be able to climb 4 flights of stairs and work in all weather.

Who We’re Looking For
This is not a beekeeping 101 course; ideal candidates will be able to demonstrate some degree of knowledge, but hands-on experience isn’t necessary. We’re a brand-new program so we need people with a sense of humor, patience, and a willingness to help us find ways to improve as we go!

In addition to the valuable hands-on training using provided equipment, we may be able to provide starter bee colonies to apprentices who successfully complete the whole program, to start their own hives next year. Students will get a portion of the honey harvest - but be aware that first-year hives sometimes produce little or no harvestable honey. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who’s interested in getting started managing their own bees and giving back to the larger community.

How to Apply
Please respond to no later than March 21st with an email telling us about yourself and your interest in the apprenticeship. We will be reviewing applications as they are received. No resume necessary, creative applications encouraged.

We encourage teams of two to three to apply together. Those who do not apply in teams will be paired with other selected applicants. Youth, members of under-served communities, and people from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.