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Continuing education class creates a buzz

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With all the snow and freezing temperatures, many are ready to herald in warmer temperatures. Likely among them are students from Continuing Education’s recent class on beekeeping. After weeks of attending classes taught by skilled beekeepers from Carroll County Beekeepers Association (CCBA), participants are probably ready to put their skills to the test.

Carroll Community College’s Continuing Education program has various courses, from professional development classes in areas such as nursing and dentistry, to personal enrichment classes in hobbies such as gardening and art. The beekeeping class is just one such offering, albeit a very unique one.

Continuing Education has partnered with CCBA since 2010, and the class is held every spring. It’s open to anyone interested in becoming a beekeeper. Partnering with CCBA helps provide knowledgable instructors and reliable lectures. Yet, the class is also unique in that it allows for a family-oriented experience. Registered participants are allowed to bring their families along as well.

The classes are held weekly for five weeks on campus, during the early spring. Classroom experience is focused on covering the skills that are necessary for a new beekeeper, specifically a beekeeper’s first year.

We contacted Fred Sypher, one of the instructors for the class and CCBA president, to help explain the procedures and layout of the course.

The course, according to Sypher, is very thorough in explaining the important aspects of being a new beekeeper. Each class is approximately two hours and covers topics such as the biology of bees, beekeeping equipment, bee care, and other important subjects. Each session is taught by an experienced beekeeper from CCBA. The course finishes up with a field trip to Bear Branch Nature Center’s Hashawa Outdoor Apiary during the weekend to observe the hives there.

Once participants register, they will receive the necessary textbooks, and a one-year membership with CCBA. Yet, says Sypher, CCBA is not concerned with receiving money or getting throngs of new members, but rather teaching and education interested individuals.

Sypher explains, “people say, ‘can we come out to see what’s it’s like?’ Come on out. Come on out. Our job is to educate. We’re more interested in bees, than in getting fifteen dollar membership up.” 

Since beekeeping is such a vast and in-depth subject, being well-informed about the topic is important. As of right now, bees are in a tough state, specifically with disease and other maladies. The least individuals can do is stay engaged and well-informed, says Sypher, and participating in classes such as CCBA’s Beekeeping Basics class can help aid in that process.

Carroll Community College’s Continuing Education Beekeeping Basics Course is held every spring for five weeks in K100, along with a special field trip to the Hashawa Outdoor Apiary. The cost of the class is $60 dollars, and family members can attend as well.

Registration can be completed online or by phone through the Continuing Education office.

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