For over four years, Pia Marquardt has been a weekly volunteer at the HBRC. Her dedication to the HBRC has been unwavering and we are grateful for everything she does. We are thrilled to name Pia as Volunteer of the Season.
Pia attend the University of Basel in Switzerland. Upon completion of the biology program, an opportunity became available to work at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario in data management. Now in Ontario and looking for a something new to do, Pia decided she wanted to keep bees. Looking for education and guidance in beekeeping, Pia enrolled in the weekend beekeeping class at the HBRC.
After taking the class, Pia was managing four hives, but something still was not clicking. At a monthly Wellington County beekeeping session, guest and HBRC Apiary manager, Paul Kelly, mentioned that the HBRC was looking for volunteers. Wanting to learn more about the research and activities at the HBRC, Pia rose to the occasion and after four years remains a weekly volunteer.
Meanwhile, Pia has been able to grow her own bee business and it has grown from four hives to over 40 hives. Her company, Three Sisters Honey, is named after her three daughters.
“Three daughters didn’t sound so nice and the bees are sisters,” said Pia.
Most recently, Pia has taken on some training of the new field staff at the HBRC. As we are a part of the University, each spring brings new student beekeepers.
“I always find it amazing that every year people start in the spring and they are new at everything, but by the time September rolls around they are so good at it, “said Pia. “That will be the same with this crew”.
With no returning field workers this summer, having Pia on site has been a boon to the HBRC. Beyond training, Pia’s advice for new beekeepers is straight to the point.
“Don’t be afraid to get stung”, said Pia. “It still hurts but you get used to it”.
Pia also gave some advice for all beekeepers and some wider thoughts on the HBRC.
“You can trust the advice here”, said Pia. “You can find any sort of advice on google but half the time you don’t know if it’s how you should do it”.
“Paul once said beekeeping should be easy and that’s what I feel like they pass on to people,” said Pia. “Yes, there are crucial steps that you should do, but it’s not rocket science and you can do well with bees following the advice”.