Donor Spotlight – Rich Wieske, the MBA, and SEMBA

Just south of the border, our friends at the Michigan Beekeepers Association (MBA) and the Southeastern Michigan Beekeepers Association (SEMBA) have been hard at work raising funds in support of the HBRC.  

Rich Wieske, President of the MBA and Director of SEMBA’s Bee School program, runs the 9-month interactive and educational bee course with 16 instructors and over 60 students participating annually. Rich is very involved in the MBA’s many initiatives as well. Currently, the MBA is focused on raising funds for their travelling speaker program. The organization sells pollinator friendly trees such as large leaf basswood, small leaf linden, and Sargent crab apple to support this goal. They also raised over $2500 in funds through their ‘Adopt a Bee’ campaign, wherein adopters receive a beautiful postcard with a picture of their bee, and an informative letter about bees. Most of their fundraising comes from conferences, which they hope to pick up again after 3 years of COVID cancellations. 

An active beekeeper for more than 22 years, Rich first discovered Paul Kelly and the HBRC at an Eastern Apiculture Society conference many years ago. After having a successful fundraising year at the MBA, he felt quite generous and initially proposed the MBA donate $2000 to the HBRC’s new building fund – however that amount was quickly raised to $5000 by the associations’ members. The HBRC is well-known and well-loved amongst members of the MBA, and everyone wanted to help. 

Paul Kelly travelled to Michigan to speak at the MBA Spring 2022 conference. “We tried to have him present online in 2021, but the warm spring weather threatened to strand a queen rearing hut on the island, so Paul and the team were stuck trying to move it before the ice melted,” Rich recalls. “We finally got him here last year for our spring conference. He was worth the wait.”  

Spurred on by MBA’s generosity, SEMBA proposed to give the HBRC a $2000 grant, an amount that was also raised to $5000. SEMBA’s bee school relies heavily on the HBRC’s educational YouTube videos, and some of the board members who had visited the HBRC for a conference many years ago recalled fond memories.  

The MBA and SEMBA value beekeeping education, and they appreciate the HBRC’s commitment to education too. We are very grateful to everyone at the Michigan Beekeepers Association and the Southeastern Michigan Beekeepers Association for their hard work fundraising and their generous contributions to the HBRC. We are also very thankful to Rich Wieske for his diligence and for encouraging the MBA and SEMBA to donate to the HBRC.