Local beekeeper presents at Gannon for CHESS speaker series


Gannon University Marketing Communications

Connie Walker spends her evening educating the Gannon community about beekeeping and its historical context from its roots in Slovenia.

Madeline Bruce, Editor-in-Chief

Gannon University’s College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences “Reinventing Right Now” speaker series continued Thursday with an event on beekeeping.

The event, held in Waldron 219, featured talks from Martha Kosir, Ph.D., Leigh Forbes, Ed.D., and Connie Walker, a local business owner and beekeeper.

Kosir, director of the foreign languages and cultures program at Gannon, spoke on the historical context of beekeeping and its roots in Slovenia.

“In Slovenia, beekeeping is literally a way of life,” she said.

“Without exaggeration, people love bees and everything about bees.

It’s an important part of the culture and also a source of pride.”

According to Forbes, an associate dean of CHESS and an associate professor in the School of Education, Thursday’s event is the beginning of what will be a much larger initiative at Gannon to implement and keep a beehive in the Goodwill Garden on campus.

The garden is located on West Seventh Street and is connected to West Hall.

“The speaker series is really a kickoff to the things that are going to be happening in the garden,” Forbes said.

“And a lot of those things are going to be happening because of what my class is doing.”

Gannon’s School of Education is spearheading the project to put a beehive in the garden, Forbes said.

It’s part of a plan to get more community members to use the garden, which she said many people don’t know about.

“It’s a hidden treasure here at the university,” she said. “It’s a resource that’s available for both the Erie community and Gannon students, faculty and staff.”

The beehive is set to be installed in May, ahead of a World Bee Day celebration that will tentatively occur May 20.

Walker, owner of the Erie-based, Earth-conscious business Black and Green, said that she started beekeeping because of their gentle nature, which isn’t commonly thought of.

“I like to think of bees for a metaphor of who we are as a people, a culture and inhabitants of the Earth,” she said.

“Bees demonstrate this way of being in the world in which there’s no violence. Unless they are provoked, there’s generally no aggression.”

During her talk, Walker covered the basics of beekeeping, including equipment, costs, methods of installation and the importance of the practice.

“Not only do bees help with pollination and the growth of plants,” she said.

“They actually make the world a better place because they are here, which is something we can learn from the bees – interdependence and cooperation.

“They contribute to the abundance of our planet.”

The bees that will be kept in the Goodwill Garden will contribute to the abundance of the plants grown there, and, thus, the community, Forbes said.

“It’s important for students and the community to have access to fresh food,” she said.

“This is one way that we can make things better in the community.”

More details regarding the World Bee Day celebration and installation of the beehive will be announced closer to the dates of these events.

Visit EngageU for more information on the remaining CHESS Reinventing Right Now speaker series events.

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