“What’s happening to the bees?”
“What can I do to help?”
Blossomland U is our response to those questions. After almost 30 years of beekeeping and 20 of those spent teaching others the art of beekeeping, I still am passionate about our honeybees, members of God’s most cooperative community.
Traveling and scheduling time for a class will no longer be an issue. We regularly get phone calls and requests from those who cannot attend the classes we hold here in Buchanan for individuals and families. This Kickstarter is to expand our Blossomland Supply ‘Bee School’ to be more easily accessible to all who wish to take classes. Classes will address both rural and urban “backyard” beekeeping.
With your help, using the money raised through this Kickstarter, we will create all new lesson materials: videos, DVDs and both printed hard copies and downloadable step-by-step student manuals. New equipment will allow us to create microscopic slides to show the bees up close and personal and an observational hive, streamed live online, showing our bees in action to enhance the class experience.
All new lesson materials will be deliverable either locally in our Buchanan, MI office, online or through a mailed DVD program with phone consultation for those who still do not use computer access.
Not only will online videos and class materials be available for review after the class, but students will be able to obtain a DVD of their class. We will be interviewing other beekeepers and visiting a number of apiaries, extraction facilities, queen rearing operations and see how propolis is harvested and prepared for manufacturers of a variety of products during our bi-weekly Hiveside Chats.
With the proper equipment we will be able to produce all these materials in-house keeping costs low. My wife Kathie, otherwise known as Queen Bee, is a writer/photographer with many years of experience who enjoys conducting video interviews in addition to preparing the written content and still photographs for the student manuals.
Whichever way a student decides to take the classes, they will be able to have their questions answered by the instructor either during the class or in an after-class consultation.
Our project is about making time and expertise available to beekeepers and all who are interested in learning more about honeybees at a reasonable cost.
We will offer beginner, intermediate, advanced and specialized beekeeping classes including overwintering and queen rearing.
Classes will be held during the week and on weekends, during the day and in the evening several times each month throughout the year. Classes will be limited to no more than a dozen students to allow reasonable interaction between students and with the instructor. Should the demand be greater we will simply schedule more classes.
Participants can purchase a single, regularly scheduled, open-enrollment class or sign up for a series of classes to guide them through each step of their beekeeping experience. Classes delivered live online will allow students to interact with one another and ask questions as they come up.
Need one-on-one time? Private classes and personal consultation packages, in sixty minute and 30 minute increments, will be available. Take pictures or video of what is happening with your hive and we will work through the problem together.
In addition to the classes, Blossomland U will offer “Hiveside Chats” every other week, in which a specific topic related to beekeeping will be addressed, sometimes an expert in the field will sit in on the chat. Participants will be able to interact either online or by phone. There will be plenty of time for discussion, questions and answers. These will also be available for replay or on DVD.
Participants the classes and chats will receive membership for access to our "Students Only" area, featuring a variety of updated videos, articles and downloads all designed to add to the lessons their own bees will be teaching them.
Materials will be customized to meet special situations.
As well as the classes for beekeepers, Blossomland U is dedicated to furthering education about honeybees to both elementary classrooms and organizations such as garden clubs, Boy Scout and Girl Guide troops and 4H groups.
Materials are already in the works to assist beekeepers in educating and reassuring their neighbors, with simple handouts explaining the nature and importance of honeybees and the difference between honeybees and other flying insects such as wasps and yellow-jackets.
In the past decade bee losses have been staggering. It is our hope that by encouraging new beekeepers and through continual education there is yet time to find the answers to the questions:
“What’s happening to the bees?”
“What can I do to help?”
KICKSTARTER AND YOU
For those of you not as familiar with the Kickstarter process, here is what we want you to know. Every little bit helps so a dollar or more gets our absolute gratitude.
When you are looking at the rewards be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page. As we wanted to be sure that there were plenty of selections both for beekeepers, future beekeepers and those of you who just want to support our efforts, we have more rewards than story.
Know that until our goal is reached and the Kickstarter closes no money is payable. All funds are collected only if we reach our goal and only when the Kickstarter is over. You will then be notified of the money being taken and we will send you a form to fill out to be sure we have all the particulars like your address and any special choices or preferences that you have.
Should we reach our goal early, we will be posting a stretch goal. We have ideas for increasing the educational experience and for taking it to even more individuals and groups. Watch with us. This is going to be exciting!
Risks and challenges
There are always challenges when undertaking any new project.
Due to our years of experience in beekeeping, creating videos and prints material and teaching the classes, we believe the risks are minimal. We have a pool of experts at our disposal excited about the project and eager to share their knowledge with our students.
We know how to present the material in easy-to-follow steps and how to gear it to men and women and even children, so families can enjoy the hobby together.
Activity with honeybees are dependent on weather and there may be cases where we will have to adjust timelines or add to classes due to varying conditions throughout the country. For this reason we have contact with a number of beekeepers, throughout the States and into Canada who know the conditions across the continent.
Technology, as we all know, can have a mind of its own. We are fortunate to have our technical guru within a stone's throw of our location, although we have seldom had to call on his expertise.
Most non-beekeeping rewards will be ready to ship within a week of the end of this Kickstarter. Blossomland U online classes will begin by mid-July. We expect the DVDs to be ready by early autumn.
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