Courses &Training

Salt “Spring” – 2015 – Beginners’ Beekeeping Course 

This course is full. Please contact us regarding the cancellation list, mentoring and future course. 

  • Presented by: Bee Master Wendi Gilson (Black Horse Apiary) and Bee Master David Macdonald (Hives For Haiti) in collaboration with The Salt Spring Island Public Library
  • When: Tuesday evenings from March 3/ 2015 to April 14/ 2015 (6:30 PM to 9:30 PM). Two field days will follow. Dates: to be determined
  • Where: Salt Spring Island Public Library 129 McPhillips Avenue Salt Spring Island BC
  • Cost: $300 donation to Hives For Haiti
  • To Register: Please email or
  • The first night, March 3, is open to the public – by donation. The evening will include Bees 101 (introduction to the life of honey bees) and viewing of the inspirational film, Queen of The Sun. There is limited seating so be sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment. Start time 6:30 PM.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHoney bees are responsible for one of every three bites we take. They are in trouble; the threats that they face are not a mystery. What are the top four reasons for the alarming decline in honey bee colonies? Answer:

  1. Pesticides
  2. Mono culture and other modern, unsustainable farming practices
  3. Varroa mites and other pathogens
  4. Intensive migratory beekeeping (i.e. moving bees around the globe to meet intensive pollination contracts) and other unsustainable, modern beekeeping practices

It is clear that the answers to these problems will not come from the large commercial apiaries. Commercial beekeepers are caught in a trap of needing to supply bees at an unsustainable rate for intensive pollination. They are also pressured to supply honey, wax and other hive products at prices that  do not reflect the cost of production. This leads to the implementation of quick fixes to complex problems. These quick fixes  endanger the survival of the species (e.g. chemical treatments, importing bees from other continents, intensive queen breeding, etc.)

It is in the small hobby and medium sized bee yards that we will find the kind of beekeeping that will support honey bee survival. In supporting these small ventures, we support ourselves.

“Colony Collapse Disorder, I think we ought to call it People Collapse disorder”  Sam Comfort, Anarchy Apiaries

The first night of the program (March 3) is an open to the public, by donation event.  It will include a presentation by instructors David Macdonald and Wendi Gilson: Bees 101, with time for questions, followed by a showing of the inspirational film, Queen of the Sun.

For the next 6 Tuesdays, the course participants will attend class sessions at the library. These sessions will cover the fundamental essentials for beginner beekeepers to start their own healthy apiary. The final two sessions will be in the field, hands on, working with honey bees at the Black Horse Apiaries and the Hives For Haiti Apiaries.


“We are really excited about training new beekeepers, supporting Hives for Haiti and the Salt Spring community.  

We’re also pleased to announce that we are offering a scholarship to attend the course. Applicants can send an email to either of us (David or Wendi) with the following information: 

Now closed. *Congratulations to Tali Hamel. Tali was awarded the 2015 scholarship.*

Lastly, the library administration has been so helpful in making this program possible. We’re very thankful for their involvement in the project”  Wendi & David 

To register for the Introductory Beekeeping course please email: or

What a great idea for a unique Valentines gift!