Thunder Bay·New

Dryden and Kenora junior Beekeepers to learn the ropes in new course

There will be a fresh crop of young beekeepers in Dryden and Kenora this year thanks to a new course. The Honeybees junior Beekeeping course is the brain child of Dryden resident and passionate beekeeper.

40 youth aged three to 12 will learn to keep bees and make honey over summer

Reagan Breeze and some Junior Beekeepers standing outside of the Dryden Municipal Office. (photo: Reagan Breeze/Facebook)

There will be a fresh crop of young beekeepers in the Dryden and Kenora areas this year thanks to a new educational course.

The Honeybees Jr. Beekeeping course is the brainchild of Dryden resident — and passionate beekeeper — Reagan Breeze.

Starting this June, 40 children aged three to 12 will learn all about bees and the role they play in nature through several days of hands-on learning spread over the summer.

Breeze said the course was designed with the understanding that COVID-19 could remain a reality all summer.

"I had to really think diligently on the fact that COVID may still be around at the time," he said. "So from the large amount of people that wanted to be enrolled into the junior beekeeping course, I had to restrict the numbers exponentially just to make sure that the kids got the proper attention and the teachings."

Breeze added that the course is broken into eight sections and will cover all aspects of beekeeping.

The history and evolution of bees and beekeeping will be studied, as well as the impact that things like pesticides have on bees as well as the roll they play as a pollinator. Breeze said the children will even learn how to build a hive box.

"The kids will be able to build the boxes right from step one," said Breeze. "And the way that I look at, it is like building a brand new puppy, a dog house. I know it's a little different, but at the same time it's going to allow the kids to take ownership on some transferable skills that they will be able to develop for later on in life."

Eight year old Taneal Walmsley , from Dryden Ont., is a Jr. Beekeeper. (photo: Reagan Breeze/Facebook)

Breeze said he has teamed up with Harvest Kenora Community Gardens, where the students are going to see the interaction between the honeybees as pollinators with flowers and vegetables.

At the end of the course, Breeze said the junior Beekeepers are going to have learned the expenses and the work ethic required to be a beekeeper.

He said they're going to be able to harvest the honey themselves, and they will go down to the local food markets in Dryden, and the pavilion in Kenora in their bee-suits to sell it.

"All the proceeds of the honey from the sales that they sell are going to go back to the junior beekeepers themselves," said Breeze. "We're going to divvy it up 100 per cent, so it's going to teach the kids a little bit of the financial aspect on what it takes to work and how to make a dollar."

Breeze said he is happy so many young people want to learn the basics of what he calls "a lost art." He said having young people focused on something so positive and life-affirming during the pandemic is good for everyone and everything involved.

"One of the nicest things about this course, and being a beekeeper, is there's zero waste," said Breeze."There's zero carbon footprint as well. It's totally green. It's a very nurturing activity and it's something the world needs."

Listen to the full interview with Reagan Breeze on Superior Morning here:

Kids in Dryden and Kenora are buzzing about beekeeping thanks to a new course. Hear about the Honeybees Junior Beekeeper program. 8:01

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