Tag Archives: featured

A Bee’s Life for Me

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I am a beekeeper, but the truth is that beekeeping did not come naturally. When someone gifted me with a hive about seven years ago, I spent the first year being terrified every time I opened it.  Honey bees pick up very quickly on a beekeeper’s fear, so I knew I had to get over it.

When I started talking to my bees, I started to relax.  Then I started to listen. They were talking back through their buzzing.  Over the course of many conversations, my bees wrapped their tiny legs around my heart.  Today I talk to them every chance I get.

Being a beekeeper brings you into direct contact with nature.  You start looking at the world like a bee, seeing flowering plants and insects like you’ve never seen them before.  The weather becomes super important.  You know just by looking at the sky if it’s a good day to fly.

Beekeeping has also brought me closer to the land.  I maintain about 50 hives, so I need good agricultural landscapes for my bees.  The five farms around Champaign-Urbana where most of my bees reside are organic or natural farms far from conventional corn fields and deadly pesticides.  Like me, the farmers on these farms take pleasure in observing their bustling little charges at work among the flowers.

My company is called Second Nature Honey, and gourmet-infused honey has been my main product.  Chocolate honey is my most popular flavor, followed by honey infused with chamomile or hibiscus flowers.

This year I am partnering with Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch to implement a USDA grant to capture varietal honeys. I work closely with the Curtis beekeeper, Rachel Coventry, to improve pollination.  We use a microscope to examine pollen in honey to determine which plants they prefer to pollinate.

I love to teach beekeeping.  I teach at Parkland and at Common Ground Food Co-op.  Parkland is a great place to connect with beginning beekeepers and help them get started.  My students’ enthusiasm for the bees keeps me going!

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Maggie Wachter is a master beekeeper and a certified honey judge. Her goal is happy, healthy hives all year long. Maggie’s expertise has led her into “Second Nature Honey”, an award-winning local business that specializes in gourmet honeys and mead making. Her beekeeping is based entirely on  sustainable and natural principles.

Check out Maggie Wachter’s bee classes in the 505, Community Education’s summer class listing.

Student Union Ribbon Cutting 2014: Live Updates!

Thanks so much for joining us for today’s celebration of the new Student Union!

 

FREE! Chair massages, photos with friends, food at Student Union! 4:50 p.m.

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Beautiful group shot taken of entire crowd before refreshments and open house exploration begin, 4:35 p.m.group

 

Cutting the ribbon!

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Dr. Thomas Ramage, Parkland College president
Dr. Thomas Ramage, Parkland College president

Dr. Ramage announces $2.1 million Title III grant awarded recently to Parkland College, 4:30 p.m.: “We’re very pleased to have won this competitive grant from the Board of Education.”

 

Parkland Student Government President, Abby Vanderkloot from Monticello, addresses visitors next: “Say goodbye to the cold pizza and hello to the stone ovens that bring out fresh hot pizza all week long. With all of this new space comes new opportunities for student success.”

Abby Vanderkloot of Monticello, Student Government President
Abby Vanderkloot of Monticello, Student Government President

 

Vice President for Student Services Linda Moore speaks to Student Union’s design flexibility and sustainability, 4:25 p.m.: “Look carefully today and you will see a lounge that converts to book buy-back space for the bookstore, and a conference room that converts to a stage.”

Dr. Linda Moore, Vice President for Student Services
Dr. Linda Moore, Vice President for Student Services

 

Senator Chapin Rose comments at 4:20 p.m.:  “What a wonderful, wonderful facility…and if you’re standing around looking up instead of at who’s speaking it’s because of this beautiful facility. We appreciate what Parkland has done for our entire region. Congratulations, Parkland.”

 

Board of Trustee Chair Tom Bennett gives official welcome, 4:11 p.m.: “We have stood firmly behind the concept of giving our students quality ‘elbow room’ as they learn within our walls.”

 

Parkland President Tom Ramage leads off the festivities, 4 p.m.: “Our Student Union shines as an example of what is best about Parkland College and its mission.”

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It’s 3:59 and the Student Union lobby is abuzz with anticipation!

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Stop by campus at 4 p.m. today for the big event! Check out this gorgeous new space,  take in some food, and get to know how Student Services units help students at Parkland.