Bee Delighted: Calling All Lovers of Bees to The Oregon Honey Festival
It takes a honey bee her entire life to make one-twelfth of a teaspoonful of honey and more than one weekend for people to learn how she does it. But at the 5th Annual Oregon Honey Festival, children and adults alike can buzz around and learn, taste, participate, and bee in awe of these magnificent creatures.
Sharon Schmidt, Director of the non-profit Cascade Girl Organization, and Oregon Honey Festival event organizer says, “One of the things that our board has done to make this affordable is to allow children (eight and under) in for free if accompanied by a parent. We really want them to learn about bees. We always make sure that we have kids’ activities like face painting, pollinator coloring pages, craft making or activities that encourage asking questions.”
When asked why she started the Oregon Honey Festival, Schmidt replied: “Honey has always been a delight in my life, and I had a desire to share it.”
Schmidt took coursework in Honey Sensory Analysis at the Robert Mondavi Honey and Pollination Center at UC Davis. She is also an Oregon Master Beekeeper.
“Beekeepers are the unsung heroes of the agricultural world,” says Schmidt (a.k.a. Sharie-Bee). She is a health educator who believes strongly that bees are the interface between agriculture and food. “I have always had concerns about the connection between honey bee health and our health as humans. There’s lots of data about this but just yesterday, I read yet another credible article from the Journal of Applied Ecology which showed that even supposedly safe levels of pesticides are affecting the honey bees’ ability to remember where they are and what they are doing.”
Schmidt interprets, “This means that they may not be able to get back to their home. If widely used pesticides are neurotoxic to bees, might they not also affect humans (especially the very young and the very old) over long periods of exposure?”
So, what are people doing about the fate of bees in this world? Some appear in Schmidt’s classes at Rogue Community College and are becoming beekeepers. For Oregon Honey Festival, the non-profit Cascade Girl Organization partners with the Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association to teach people about bees and to encourage working toward the health of our land, flowers, pollinators and people.
Schmidt says, “The average age of the US Beekeeper is about 57, so it is important to involve the next generation.” She adds, “I’m particularly excited to host the Lakota Youth Development group coming from South Dakota. People can meet the youth and taste honey made by their bees on Saturday, August 18. Judging from what I already know of them, I believe they will become important protectors of the land and its pollinators.”
Bee There, Events:
Saturday, August 18th
Beekeeper Breakfast: 9 to 11 am, Ashland Springs Hotel prepared by Lark’s ($25 EventBrite). No need to be a Beekeeper to attend.
Festival: 11 am to 5 pm, Ashland Elks Lodge ($10, EventBrite)
Sunday, August 19th
Bee-Loved Benefit Concert: Jen Ambrose and Annieville, Grizzly Peak Winery, 1:30 to 3:30 pm ($10-$15 per ticket). If too hot or smoky, the show will be at the Barrel Room.
Bee Educated – Presenters:
Next-Gen; Lakota Youth Development Honey Project Indigenous Beekeepers; Amina Harris, Director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center; Andony Melathopoulos, Director of the OSU Bee Project
Oregon Honey Festival
Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19