Beekeeping As A Therapeutic Endeavor

There are a great many people in the U.S. now involved in the hobby of beekeeping. There are some who are involved in beekeeping in some sort of commercial or small business venture. There is a growing number of beekeeping education programs out there as well.

However, a very small focus area involving beekeeping is as a therapeutic activity. There just aren’t that many people who are interested in or have the experience to offer beekeeping experiences for others iwith a primarily therapeutic purpose.

As a profesional apiarist, a professional instructor, and a Panendeist minister, I find myself in a unique situation to be able to offer beekeeping as a way for people to immerse themself in a highly experiential way to bring focus, calm, and a sense of peace to their life in a safe way that involves beekeeping.

I have mentored and provided training to a great many people as they become involved in beekeeping or look for opportunities to become more advanced in their beekeeping skills. A number of these people have had to deal with stress in their lives to a sometimes almost incapacitating degree. From veterans dealing with PTSD to people recovering from life changing health changes or disabilities, they not only look to beekeeping as a new opportunity to engage successfully with something in their world, but find it as a path to peace and serenity in their life.

Beekeeping is a highly sensory and is extremely experiential in it’s practice. There’s only so much you can “know” of beekeeping from reading, watching or being in a classroom. Most of beekeeping is experiencing it. Knowing what particular scents and odors are that directly realate to troubleshooting a hive’s condition or a colony’s health. Knowing the feel and coloration of the comb in a hive, the cells on a frame. This is hard to know and understand without experiencing it for yourself.

The therpeutic beekeeping experience is very much an approach that provides the participant with a safe environment yet offers a multitude of facots which make it beneficial. By presenting a person with scents, visual, and touch sensory input and combining those with a directed, step-by-step, process that keeps the mind focused on an operational track, most participants find the beekeeping experience to a great relief and stress reducing tool that has long-lasting effects.

I am now beginning a project in collaboration with Scatter Joy Acres, an animal rescue and animal therapy project that conditions a wide variety of animals to be a source of comfort and stress reduction for people. The bee aspect will begin this May, 2019.

The four primary activities for the bee project there will be a home for relocated (instead of exterminated) honey bees, an apprenticeship for beekeepers interested in learning the complete apiarist experience, a veterans beekeeping group and a small group beekeeping experience that will give visitors an oportunity to see what really goes on in beekeeping, how they can help bees and to see how bees aren’t the scary things they often think they are.

The veterans beekeeping group is the focal aspect of the therapeutic effort. I am accepting veterans to register for the group at no cost to them. As they participate on a regular basis, they will use a methodology and guided experience to maximize the most beneficial aspects of beekeeping.

The methodology is one that I’ve been developing for a number of years as Ive worked with individuals I’ve trained or mentored that experience stress issues. It incorporates a certain style of movements and mental concentrations that help keep an individual focused and in-the-moment.

As this project goes forward, it’s possible to see more groups added to include people dealing with stress from a variety of backgrounds. Beekeeping is a fascinating and productive endeavor that helps both the bees and the people involved in multiple ways.

SJA-Update- News For The Last Week of November 2018

I’m working at putting a weekly update on the goings on of the various projects I am working on for each of the locations I am working on them at.  In this case, I’m talking about the goings-on at the Rescue & Teaching Apiary at Scatter Joy Acres in North Omaha.

Bee nucs are on sale.

I have placed an order for 4 nucs to be used at the Teaching apiary to begin the training and veterans group activities ther as soon as possible.  Yes, it is a rescue apiary but most rescues won’t show up in the apiary until late Spring and we want to give our participants ecxperience with bees and what to do as soon as Spring starts.  If things go as we expect and hope, this will be a one time purchase as rescues and splits will help provide the futuure teaching hives.

You can help to purchase the initial nucs for the teaching apiary by clicking this link to the GoFundMe page and contributing there.  If you don’t like GoFundMe, contact me directly for other ways to contribute.

Apprentice Program

The Apprentice program still has room for 2 more apprentices.  Apprenticeship is more than just volunteering and helping out occassionally.  It’s making a committment to helping achieve the goals and objectives of successfully managing the hives at the teaching apiary and assisting with educational programs and activities that are scheduled.

Yes, there is some flexibility but the folks willing to put the most in will be the ones given the most consideration.

Being an apprentice here is learning to successfully manage hives for production, teaching and mentoring others, doing live bee removal and relocation activities and more.  Of course there are certain benefits to making such a committment of time and effort.

Contact me directly by filling out the Apprentice form on the website.

Veterans Beekeeping Group

The veterans beekeeping project is one that focuses on using beekeeping as a therapeutic way of reducing stress and learning a new hobby at the same time.

Veteran participants are welcome to join at no cost to them.  Just bring your enthusiasm and courage and we’ll take care of the rest.

This program starts in April, 2019.  Contact me directly at 402-370-8018 or at bigbearomaha at gmail.com to register.

Bee. S. Sessions

Beekeepers are welcome to come on over and be part of a group chat about all things bees and beekeeping at Scatter Joy Acres on the First and third Saturday of each month this Winter.  There is only a $5.00 entry fee to access the farm but you get to hang out with other beekeepers, ask questions, help others and generally Bee. S. for awhile.  Come on over antime between 9 am and 11 to shoot the bees with us.

Scatter Joy Acres is located at 4966 Newport Ave, Omaha, NE 68152

Beehooligan Apprentices Learn By Doing And More

I run multiple beekeeping projects.  I go out to local beekeepers and help them one on one.  I manage rescue & teaching apiaries.  I teach beekeeping classes.

Beehooligan Apprentices are in it to gain hands-on practical experience and knowledge.  They make a committment to put in the time, effort , and resources to invest as much of themselves into it so that they can get the most out of it.

Not only do they learn by being my right hands on these various projects, they also learn by teaching.  They act as teaching assistants and aides to the students participating in classes, workshops and special groups.

I ask a lot of my Apprentices.  I also bust my butt to make sure to give them as much or more than they invest.  The best part of being a Beehooligan Apprentice though is the impact they get to have on other beekeepers who are just starting their journey and getting off on the right foot by taking in-depth classes, participating in workshops and coming out for one-on-one mentoring.

Because being a Beehooligan is all about building better beekeepers.  Helping beekeepers to be successful, happy and able to handle the challenges that might stop others from a life-long experience.

Fill out the Apprentice form on the top menu today if you have the time and committment to be a Beehooligan.  Building better bees by building better beekeepers.

The Scatter Joy Acres Teaching Apiary Is Coming Along

The Rescue and Teaching Apiary is getting closer to officially opening next Spring.

Scatter Joy Acres Teaching Apiary

There are plans and there are plans.

Plan 1: To rescue (remove and relocate live colonies) honey bees from buildings by building relationships with area commercial and apartment/townhomes property and maintenance management as opposed to having them exterminated.

I am hoping to have as may of these property management businesses sign a “pledge” to bring myself and my “Beehooligans” (apprentices) to do a professional and complete removal of the honey bee colony and the nest from walls, ceilings and other void-spaces they might get into.

Plan 2: To teach classes to the public on “Bee Appreciation” and to area beekeepers on beekeeping techniques. To conduct beekeeping related workshops on methodologies, techniques and new information and inviting guest speakers.  To train a limited number of beekeeping apprentices AKA “Beehooligans” to assist in the operations and maintenance of the hives and bee rescue activities.

Plan 3: To work with groups such as veterans and others to deal with stress, PTSD and other concerns in small groups to introduce them to beekeeping as a theraputic activity.

The next phase with the fencing complete now is to obtain more hive equipment, protective gear and yes, bees.

“Bees”, you ask?  Yes we need to buy a few colonies of bees to start the teaching groups right away next Spring instead of waiting for rescues which won’t happen until later in the Spring.  After those first few purchased colonies, the goal is to rescue bees from being exterminated and to take in bees that need a new home.

Sometimes beekeepers pass away and families aren’t sure what to do with all the bees.  Sometimes beekeepers have to move and leave their bee hives behind.  We will bee able to take those bee colonies and give them a new home where they will bee cared for properly.

The harvest of the hives, specifically honey and beeswax, will be used to fundraise for Scatter Joy Acres to support all of the educational and theraputic activities with all of the various rescued animals onsite.

You Can Help

The first way you can help is to contact Tony Sandoval (me) when there are bees colonies in the wall, ceiling, etc…, in a commercial business or apartment property building.  DON’T CALL AN EXTERMINATOR!     402-3708018

The second way you-can help is to contribute to the GoFundMe effort to purchase bees and equipment -for the teaching groups next Spring by clicking on this link.