Urban Beekeeping–Weeks 1 and 2

A week before I began my project, I was touring a cave with some friends from school. At the end of the tour, a student working towards her Masters stepped out and announced that she was seeking focus group participants to evaluate the cave tour. Those with an orange dot stuck on the postcard she handed us were selected for the discussion if we agreed to volunteer.

I had the dot. BUT we had an eight hour drive ahead for which we were two hours behind schedule. AND none of my friends had gotten the dot. So I snuck out without participating, much to my shame and chagrin.

My unwillingness to share information here has fortunately not been replicated by many of the beekeepers I have contacted for my project. One thing I’ve been struck with early on in my project is the willingness people show in pointing me in the right direction for potential interviewees or providing me with time and information. I began contacting people somewhat warily, fearing that they would see requests for interviews as impositions and inconveniences. As people have instead responded generously and openly, I have begun to see the same enthusiasm for bees and beekeeping that led me to the project reflected in those who are actually involved. It’s always exciting when enthusiasm for the theory of something and enthusiasm for the actual practice of something align, which seems to occur in beekeeping.

This generosity in informational exchange is also reflected in the beekeeping meetings I have attended. Presenters brought back information they had gained at out of area conferences, which they shared with a personal gloss of their own responses to the material. The audience responded with their own insights, anecdotes, and questions. Material was not accepted without skepticism and questioning, but it was also not lightly dismissed or tuned out for its newness or strangeness. Thus, many hobbyists and sideline beekeepers in one area benefit through the learning experiences of individuals willing to share them.