Volunteer Feature: Kathryn Knowles

Katie is a 3rd year Ecology Co-op student at the University of Guelph that started volunteering weekly at the HBRC in September. She has been a huge help with everything from making candles to wrapping hives. In May, she will be starting a full time Co-op work term here and we are very excited to work with her! Below is the story of her involvement with the HBRC.

How did you get involved with the HBRC?
During the past summer I was in school and I took the Apiculture and Honey Bee Biology course, which was taught by Nuria Morfin-Ramirez (Researcher Associate at the HBRC). At the end of the semester, she invited Paul to speak to the class to talk about the HBRC and it’s programs. Paul briefly mentioned that he was looking for volunteers for the fall and I was intrigued right away. I sent my resume to Paul, we had a meeting and I started working after that.

Is there something/someone that made you have an interest in beekeeping before you took the Apiculture course?
At one of my past jobs I worked on a farm and one of my coworkers went to the University of Guelph. She told me that she worked at a “Bee Lab” and spoke positively of the place. She recommended getting involved with the place. I didn’t know anything about the HBRC at the time but it sounded very intriguing. I think that made me interested in taking the course in the first place, and then after that I became interested in volunteering at the HBRC.

So you didn’t have any beekeeping experience before you took the beekeeping course?
No, not at all!

Do you have any advice for students trying to get more involved within their school community, either through clubs or research opportunities?
I think the biggest hurdle is putting yourself out there. As an environmental student, I’m frequently sent newsletters with lots of volunteer opportunities or other ways to get involved in the University community. Even looking through those, sending out your resume and talking with people is a great way to get involved. I’m in the Co-op program and volunteering here at the HBRC is what led me to my Co-op placement for this summer and it all started with me sending out my resume to Paul.

Is there anything that you’re looking forward to doing once you start working at the HBRC in the summer?
I am really excited to get more involved in the research side of things. I enjoyed talking with Alvaro and Aon (our two Ph.D. candidates) and I am looking forward to learning more about their research. Right now there aren’t very many opportunities for research in a lab on campus so it is very exciting for me to be able to help out with their research.

As well as volunteering at the HBRC, you are also a member of the Apiculture club at the University. What’s your position and what sort of activities has the club been doing?
I am the treasurer of the Apiculture club. I got involved with them after I started volunteering at the HBRC. Last semester, we had a winter Christmas sale where we sold honey, candles, and lip balm from the HBRC. We raised over 1000$ in two days, which was awesome! We are planning on donating to the HBRC or using it to fund future programs for our club. Since we can’t go to campus yet, we haven’t started back up yet this semester, but I’m hoping that we will be able to do something soon.

Thank you Katie for all your volunteering!