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The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced a workshop designed for new beekeepers. The Beginning Beekeepers’ Workshop is part of the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center’s homestead learning series, classes that teach skills for independent, sustainable living. Its goal is to provide a strong foundation of knowledge to those interested in starting their own apiaries, either for pleasure or potential profit.
“The honeybee is the only insect that provides food for human consumption,” say the workshop’s organizers, “but its most estimable value lies in the pollination of fruit and vegetable crops throughout the country.”
The first of two sessions will be held May 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center – http://www.vtrc.vt.edu/. The second all-day session on June 1 will be at the Catawba Sustainability Center – http://www.vtrc.vt.edu/catawba/. The fee for the 12-hour workshop is $100 and includes a popular beekeeping book as well as lunch during the second session.
Topics include the history and biology of the honeybee, necessary start-up equipment, pests and diseases, laws and regulations, African honeybees, pollen and nectar sources, and information on how to harvest honey.
Increasing the honeybee population in southwest Virginia is one goal of the workshop. Josh Nease, manager of the Catawba Sustainability Center, stated that colony collapse disorder continues to decimate commercial beekeepers’ hives across the United States. “Introducing more of these very important pollinators will yield benefits not just for the beekeepers, but for our entire region,” said Nease.
Instructor Mark Chorba, also known as the “bee whisperer of the Roanoke Valley,” has kept honeybees in Roanoke, Floyd, and surrounding areas for the past 20 years. As a certified Virginia Beekeeper, Chorba has taught hundreds of new beekeepers throughout southwest Virginia. He is the 2013 president of the New River Valley Beekeepers Association, currently the largest beekeeping association in Virginia.
Online registration is open until May 21. For information see http://www.cpe.vt.edu/reg/beekeep/ or contact Josh Nease by e-mail, email@example.com, or at 540.553.2311.
–Elaine Lidholm, Director of Communications, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Annie Lin shares these photos and writes:
Finally, Spring is Here! I like Spring better than Winter. I took pictures with cherry blossom, pink, pink, and pink, purple colored tree, yellow flowering bush, dogwood tree, and tulips around my house.
I dressed for the season, my pink, purple, red, and black hats. My friends, co-workers, and residents, they like my hats. They asked me “Where did you get it?” “How many hats do you have?”
Blue Ridge Behavior Health Care Canter’s Cindy Eagler, who is Jerry’s case manager. I took her picture with Jerry in front of my house. I cut some flowers for her. She liked them.
See! The colorful and beautiful windmills around my garden.
Roanoke County has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for 15 consecutive years in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. Roanoke County is one of only three counties in Virginia to hold the title, traditionally held by more-urban localities.
As part of the Tree City USA designation, Roanoke County celebrated Arbor Day with a ceremonial tree planting at Glen Cove Elementary School on Friday, April 19. This event featured educational lectures and a visit from Smokey Bear. Remarks were also made by Joseph B. “Butch” Church from Roanoke County’s Board of Supervisors, David Wymer from the Roanoke County School Board, and Dr. Lorraine Lange, superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools.
Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman Dennis McCarthy captivated the students with lessons on the importance of environmental stewardship.
“These trees that we plant on the school grounds here in Roanoke County will provide you guys shade while you’re out on the campus playing on a hot summer day,” said McCarthy. “We need to be proud about our efforts to plant trees and make sure we’re constantly thinking about preserving and conserving our trees and forests in Virginia.”
The tree planting event at Glen Cove Elementary was one of four requirements for the Tree City USA designation, including a tree-care ordinance, a tree board or department, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Roanoke County would like to thank The Valley Beautiful Foundation Inc., and the Virginia Department of Forestry for helping to fund Arbor Day events for the past 15 years. Through private donations and fundraising, they have contributed approximately $22,500 toward planting trees in Roanoke County. This is the final year of involvement for The Valley Beautiful Foundation, which is dissolving after 32 years of making our community a greener and more beautiful place to live.
– Submitted by Scott Ramsburg
At this year’s Clean Valley Day, about thirty volunteers of equally-divided Democrats and Republicans joined forces to clean Kessler Mill Road, Hanging Rock Greenway and Mason Creek, which was running fast and full. We still gathered about forty bags of trash.
Two elected representatives, Delegate Greg Habeeb and Congressman Morgan Griffith, participated. Griffith commented on how much his family enjoyed the event.
Children worked the Greenway, adults tackled Kessler Mill Road, men with waders worked the Creek and swampy areas and young men, the creek banks near the Orange Market. Paris-Eve, London Reinhard, and a friend began collecting trash in a culvert next to the Head Start playground fence before helping with the Greenway.
After tripping over rocks and vines, sticking our faces into bushes to grab trash, scrambling to the tops and bottoms of steep embankments, and wading into swamp and creek water, we realize the importance of trash pickup for our community and environment. Pristine land begets less litter. Participating children become more mindful of maintaining a clean environment and establishes a positive lifelong habit.
Cleanliness preserves our property values, beautifies and saves wildlife. Each intact piece of plastic we collect prevents it from eventually ending up in “plastic soup” spun together by a vortex of currents in a remote area of the Atlantic between Bermuda and the Azores islands, where our uncollected plastic may eventually end up. Some birds fly hundreds of miles to fetch food for their young, and sadly carry only plastic back to their nests.
Since cleaning oceans is impossible, the key is keeping plastic out and ending use of non-biodegradable materials for disposable products along with rejecting plastic shopping bags and bottled water in favor of personal bags and canteens.
This cleanup illustrates that many people are slobs, but also that the will exists to help maintain a clean environment. After travelling to Jamaica years ago, a roadless five-mile hike to an isolated beach was a shocking sight: piles of plastic bottles everywhere even though one man was charged fulltime with eliminating it, which he did by burning.
From where did it come? He replied: “From down the rivers and in from the sea and cruise ships.” It was a relief to return to Salem and be spared from piles of plastic, but environmental work is still necessary here, as we saw on Saturday.
I’m thankful to live in a clean city and to see how readily volunteers are recruited—even Democrats and Republicans working together. Cleaning our city and waterways proved on Saturday to be solid ground for successful bipartisan action.
There is still an area that needs cleaning. If anyone wants to help, please contact Cynthia Munley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submitted by Cynthia Munley
Thanks to Jessica Schaaff for submitting these photos of new babies and preparations for show season at Meadow Wood Stables. You can view these photos in a slideshow above, or in a gallery with captions here.
A Beginning Beekeepers Workshop will be held April 23 and 27 at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center in Roanoke.
From the Roanoke County website:
Curious about Cultivating Your own Honey? This two session class will help prepare the beginner beekeeper for a successful season. Instructor Mark Chroba, The “Bee Whisper” will guide you through both instructional and hands on lessons to get you ready for your great adventure. Registration in Required. For more information, contact Josh Nease at (540) 553 2311.
For more information, click here.
Leland Doyle shares these photos of the “famous white squirrel of Hanging Rock. He is not albino, just white colored.”
Do you have photos from around Salem? You can share at email@example.com or use our “share” tool to upload 10 at a time.