(A version of this article originally appeared on the Awesome Ottawa web site.)
April’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Graeme Peterson, to support community beekeeping, as well as demonstration and education, by the Ottawa Community Beekeepers.
“Ottawa Community Beekeepers,” explains Graeme, “is a community group whose purpose is to promote and facilitate beekeeping in and around Ottawa. If someone is interested in beekeeping in any way — whether just curious, or actively wanting to learn and keep bees — we will meet them at their level and do what we can to make their experience with bees and beekeeping as positive as possible.”
“There are people in Ottawa,” Graeme continues, “who just want to get up close (fully protected!) and see what it’s all about. There are others who want to try beekeeping to see if it’s for them before making an investment. Others are new to beekeeping but know they want to keep bees, and don’t have the space. Some are experienced beekeepers who no longer have hives but still want to keep their fingers in the pot, as it were. We want to provide the space, the equipment, the teaching, and the bees to meet all of their needs.”
Ottawa Community Beekeepers currently has one communal yard in Munster, and is pursuing partnerships with land owners in and around the Ottawa area to set up additional yards. The award from Awesome Ottawa will support the group’s second yard — a partnership with Veggie Trail Farms, near Bayshore Shopping Centre. “It is a wonderful location,” says Graeme. “It meets all the zoning and bylaw requirements, it is on a bus route, and the owners are excellent people.”
The award will also support the purchase of a glass-sided observation hive, some teaching and demonstration materials, and a banner or table drape with the group’s logo for education and community outreach initiatives in schools, at farmers markets, and elsewhere.
Graeme is a software engineer living in Munster and working in Kanata. A father of three, he is one of the founders of the Ottawa Community Beekeepers, and has been keeping bees on and off for more than 20 years.
“We do not currently have any bees to show, as the Munster yard had three hives, and unfortunately we lost them all this winter. With small numbers, sometimes the odds work against you. We have more on order, but with the late spring, I do not expect to have bees in place until late May or early June,” he says.
He says that people who are interested in seeing how bees are kept can contact the group via their web site ottawabees.ca to make an appointment.
Awesome Ottawa is the Ottawa chapter of the Awesome Foundation, an ever-growing worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe. Awesome Foundation chapters distribute $1,000 awards every month to projects and their creators