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Author Topic: Speaking up for certification  (Read 4691 times)
tillie
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« on: June 04, 2011, 07:20:27 PM »

Because I am having a small reaction to something going on in another thread, I wanted to speak up separately and comment positively about the value of certification.  There's no need for any beekeeper to get any kind of certification to be a good beekeeper.  Beekeeping is an art and a science and we probably all learn about it in many ways.

I know for me I learn by reading and participating here, by participating in my bee club, by all of my Internet contacts, by reading books - particularly Mark Winston and Tom Seeley, and by studying various papers wherever I can find them - in Bee Culture, in George Imrie's writings, in Walt Wright's articles etc.  I could do all of the above and not work for certification and probably also be a good beekeeper.

However, I do know that I have learned way more about bees and their functioning in the world, and I have learned lots about beekeeping and how it is done by many other people than I because I have studied for the various levels of certification offered by the Univ. of Ga through the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute.  Passing certified pushed me on to work to pass journey(wo)man and I have also passed Master Beekeeper.

It does not make me an expert by any means.  I tell groups I speak to that the fact that I can say I am a Master beekeeper simply means I was able to study and pass a test.  I always comment that there are many people in the room with much more experience and learning than I.

But I want to encourage anyone on this forum, who has the opportunity, to take and pass the various levels of certification.  Passing doesn't just mean you can study well and take tests well.  It means that you have been tested on practical skills.  It also means (at least in Georgia) that you have offered certain levels of public service - including swarm removal, public speaking, providing bees for a community garden, mentoring another beekeeper, served a local, state or national bee club as an officer, won honey contests, run a booth to promote beekeeping at a science fair or public event, etc.  And that you can put all of the above together and present it to be evaluated. 

In addition, once getting the Master Beekeeper certification, there's a responsibility included. An assumption is made that you will give back to the beekeeping community as I do every day either by speaking, teaching, writing or engaging with someone or another on the subject of beekeeping.

So if you have the opportunity, go for it. 

Linda T in Atlanta

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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2011, 08:04:41 PM »

i think it's a great idea.  the more we learn the better and the better we can teach.....as long as it is a choice and not a requirement. 

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Because I am having a small reaction to something going on in another thread

did it cause a rash??   Wink   evil
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2011, 09:26:03 PM »

And to add to that, the public service requirements are great fun and a way to reach non beekeepers with our message. I enjoy going to someplace and giving a presentation on bees and/or beekeeping. I get to connect with many fascinating groups that way.

Makes your family proud, too.  grin
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2011, 10:57:18 PM »

We have a big program here in North Carolina through NC State University. I would love to get involved and I have tried, however the tests are only given during the beginning of the year and mainly during the weekends. I, unforunately, work most weekends and do not have access to the tests. I will get around to it one day though! I agree with you 100%! You can be a great Beekeeper without certification, but it is a chance to give back and further your education at the same time!
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2011, 11:18:23 PM »

Joe, The tests are given at all spring and summer state meetings. The next one is July 7,8 & 9, in Elon, NC. There are study lessons and rules on the NC website. NCbeekeepers.org
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2011, 01:24:50 AM »

Iddee,

Unforunately I work on all those days. I may have to see when the testing is and maybe I can test before I go to work.
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2011, 08:51:39 PM »

I posted this response under another thread about bee blogs (detest blogs).

I must admit a prejudice where the "Master Beekeeper" program is concerned.
It is built around all the conventional scientific data plus an emphasis on community service.  I don't really see the connection between community service and being and "expert" in the practical art of beekeeping.  I admit it is nice if a knowledge beekeeper can do presentations concerning his avocation is a good thing but it's not really a part of beekeeping per se.

The problem I have with the conventional scientific data is, through the results of my own experience, that much of it is based on scientific studies conducted using insufficient time samples.  A four to eight week study in the middle of the summer might give an indication that a proposed mite treatment kills mites but it is so devoid of sufficient study of the effect of the treatment has on the bees over several years of exposure that it's laughable.  Yet these mini studies are pulished and expounded to be the end all and sites the data accumulated during it's short life. 

My experience tells me that if you treat your bees with a miticide (pick one) year after year, that soon your bees are so sick from the exposure to the treatments that the bees languish, enter a cycle of continuous supercedure, and any excess reared queens are quickly superceded too.  The only thing that will save the bees from dwindling away in this country are those of us who refuse to prop up our bees with medications, and other substances, and return to keeping bees as if the mites and other perisites don't exist.

When it comes to books, and I'm a late commer to this topic as I didn't own a book on beekeeping until about 5 years ago, is that there is so much misinformation in published works on bees that it's a wonder there are any successful beekeepers left.
I spend part of every beekeeper's meeting attempting to dispel advice gleaned from the pages of the latest bee book that a beekeeper took as gospel and he suddenly finds his bees are dying on him.   

A beekeeper who publishes a book on beekeeping after a few years of keeping bees does not make him an expert.
A certificate awarded for attending a series of classes and doing a little community service does not make someone and expert on bees.
A college degree doesn't make someone an expert on beekeeping.
Each case  might make him knowledgeable, to some degree, but not an expert.

What makes someone an expert on Beekeeping is astute observations while shoulder deep in bee hives over the course of a quarter century or so.  An Expert Beekeeper is someone who can have another beekeeper, seeking knowledge, come to them with a problem, and from the discription given by the seeker of knowledge, can describe to said seeker, exactly what his bee hive looks like inside in detail, the bees behaviour, and what actions the seeker of knowledge has done to the beehive so far that season and what part of those actions caused the problem.  Then the Expert Beekeeper can tell the seeker of knowledge exactly what needs to be done to correct the problem.

There are probably less than a dozen of us on this forum who can do that, and even then we'll disagree on some aspects of beekeeping, since beekeeping is not an exact science, and I'm not even sure we would even consider ourselves experts....sperts maybe, but not experts.  I had a mentor who kept bees for over 60 years when I meant him, who attempted to teach me as much of his experience he could in the 6+ years he mentored me, and I've kept bees for over 50 years myself but I wouldn't call myself an expert yet as I'm still learing. 
Although I can tell a seeker of knowledge what he willl find the next time he goes into his beehives from what he tells me he saw the last time he was in his hives, I'm not an expert.  I can't tell you all the names of the various parts of a bee nor can I begin to tell you scientific names but I do know what goes on inside a beehive. 


To which I'll add:  In my experience an "Expert" is someone who thinks they've learned all they need to know about a subject, not everything about it, just everything they need to know.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2011, 09:20:07 PM »

I don't totally disagree Tille, I think certifications may have a place in instigating learning, but I tend to run into the ones with alot of book knowledge and little keeping knowledge.
A little off the subject, but Heck we have even had folks turn up on here, tell everyone how it ought be done and have nar hive!!! evil And never had nar hive!!!

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Jim 134
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2011, 09:48:58 PM »

I don't totally disagree Tille, I think certifications may have a place in instigating learning, but I tend to run into the ones with alot of book knowledge and little keeping knowledge.
A little off the subject, but Heck we have even had folks turn up on here, tell everyone how it ought be done and have nar hive!!! evil And never had nar hive!!!




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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2011, 09:49:42 PM »

I think you may be grouping too many people in your one small group. In any field, there are great, good, bad, and terrible. In the NC master Beekeeper program, no one item other than years keeping bees and public service is required. There are 15 or more fields, 6 of which you must show proficiency. As a 35 year beek,I never studied to get my certificate. I just did the presentations and, took the tests, and showed the proficiency in the fields I choose. I do believe, tho, that the program itself is a great program that gives the new beeks a bit stronger desire to learn and the more advanced beeks a desire to study a bit more than they have already. It is also something to keep interest up and bring people in the hobby and vocation closer together.
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tillie
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2011, 09:55:35 PM »

Quote
I think certifications may have a place in instigating learning, but I tend to run into the ones with alot of book knowledge and little keeping knowledge.

There are certainly rotten apples in every barrel, and I wasn't saying everyone should get certified - just that there is some value in it and that there has been value in it for me.  

I don't ever appreciate when grand general assumptions are made.  My father used to say that all truck drivers are rough characters and I spent many an hour growing up trying to convince him that there are many kinds of people who drive trucks and it wasn't fair to say "all" are any particular kind of characters.

There are many great ways to learn beekeeping and experience is not the only teacher.  There are plenty of people for whom a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but then there are plenty more who share and have great ways of imparting their knowledge - like Michael Bush, for example, whose web site is exemplary and who is always kind in his feedback to people here.

There are good books and not so good books, there are great teachers and speakers and others who put me to sleep and have little to offer.

I don't think anyone can fairly make blanket statements about blogs, master beekeepers, people who learn from books, people who learn from experience, etc. but I do think having the opportunity to learn about other people's ideas of how to practice beekeeping, however you avail yourself of the material, does seem to  expand one's idea of how to bee a beekeeper. 

And one way to do that is to get certified in a Master Beekeeper program with levels of accomplishment and learning.

Linda T
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2011, 10:23:47 PM »

I posted this response under another thread about bee blogs (detest blogs).

I must admit a prejudice where the "Master Beekeeper" program is concerned.
It is built around all the conventional scientific data plus an emphasis on community service.  I don't really see the connection between community service and being and "expert" in the practical art of beekeeping.  I admit it is nice if a knowledge beekeeper can do presentations concerning his avocation is a good thing but it's not really a part of beekeeping per se.


I think it is built around control, money, and other aspects.

Higher learning establishments need to constantly build upon the "break into groups" and the caste system in every fiber of their being. They have their hands in about every aspect of every persons lives in one way or another. University programs are basically run by liberal leftist (some say community organizers) types that think public service and volunteering should be part of every persons life. And if you don't volunteer....they will build upon a learning system that dictates to you that you WILL do the time. It is built into almost every degree put out by universities. Want to be a doctor.....better plan on volunteering at an inner city hospital for no pay for 6 months or more if you ever hope to get your degree. So it is no surprise that a simple master beekeepers certification program has those same type requirements. I don't like academic elitist crap. And I see that with the requirements of the master beekeepers program, and those who run around using the title.

I think there are a wonderful amount of beekeepers who know more than most "master beekeepers". The master beekeepers I have known, mostly got the "title" due to personal gain and an ego trip. They don't do anything more than the next person at the local associations, they don't know anything more than the next beekeeper, and they certainly do not lose any less hives every winter.

One of the local bee associations I belong too wanted to have a "tiered" system of labling beekeepers into various groups. (beginner, intermediate, advanced, master, etc., based on testing and community service, speaking engagements, etc.) I am glad they shot the idea down as many did not want to feel compelled to participate into this type program, and be labled as such. And I think there would of been some who would of felt alienated from the association.

I applaud those who do talks and educate the public. Myself...I have one this Sunday at a state park. But I don't need a title to do such things for the bee industry.
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2011, 10:53:04 PM »

Some posts are so off the wall, they don't even deserve a reply. I'll pretend I don't see them and go to bed.
Good night..
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2011, 11:08:45 PM »

 grin
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2011, 06:06:55 AM »

Some posts are so off the wall, they don't even deserve a reply. I'll pretend I don't see them and go to bed.
Good night..

Interesting reply.

So tell me, what category would your reply fit?

Is it the "I'm taking my ball and going home" category? Or perhaps the "I don't have anything nice to say" but I'll still reply and get my little jab in while portraying myself at a higher level. Hmmm. It borders on those that use the "I don't like to get dirty wrestling with a pig" as they end their post right after they take a few pokes themselves that were no better than the comments they were referring.

So any posts you don't agree with, varying opinions not in line with yourself, a topic you don't like, or something too close to the truth, and it automatically invokes a response denigrating in nature towards the other person.

I simply expressed some of my feelings towards the master bee programs. But I see it's just easier to throw mud, and claim superior "something" while adding absolutely nothing to the discussion.

So my comments are off the wall? The forum should invite ideas and comments from across the board. Good, bad and indifferent. I am glad I don't follow the same sheep crowd and think like everyone else. You should try it sometimes.

Varying opinions and other people's ideas are the very reason I come here.  Wink

Forgive my reply if you were really talking about tillie.  grin
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2011, 06:43:35 AM »

Our State Association has been kicking around the idea of a Master Beekeeping program for awhile, and as part of that, we've gathered information on Master Beekeeping programs from around the country. Huge differences! Some programs are quite rigorous both academically and practically, while others are rather simple in comparison.

Most of them feature different options or paths to obtain the "Master" title so that it is obtainable by hobby beekeepers (like me). The skills needed to manage 100 colonies, 1000 colonies, or a half-dozen hives in one's backyard are quite different. While I don't think one needs to be a full-time commerical beekeeper to qualify as "master", I have trouble with the notion that someone who has never had more than few backyard colonies can call themselves a "Master Beekeeper". Seems disingenuous.
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2011, 07:39:12 AM »

Indy, I sure want to encourage you to go forward with this.  It doesn't matter what you call the levels - if you think a Master Beekeeper should have a 100 colonies, restrict that title to people who qualify by having that many colonies.  

What matters is that you set up something that encourages people to grow and learn in their beekeeping.

I was a sailing counselor at a summer camp all through college and set up a certification program for the campers.  They worked their way through the levels which, by the way, were called Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain and Admiral.  I can guarantee the campers, most of whom had no access to a sailboat other than at camp, were hardly comparable to a real Admiral when they achieved that level of certification, but the increasing levels helped inspire them to learn more each summer.

In Georgia we have a level above master beekeeper which is master craftsman beekeeper.  There is only one person in the state who has ever qualified at that level.  He is a fireman in real life, so he is not a commercial beekeeper, but he has kept hundreds of colonies and done removals for years.  To meet the requirements for master craftsman, the sub-specialties include many accomplishments which require that one have many, many colonies and many skills.  The line on the UGA Master Beekeeper program page says that achieving it is equivalent to getting an advanced degree.

Perhaps the title "master" is the reason people have such a reaction.  In real life I have a PhD.  I don't call myself "Dr." although I have earned it and some people do address me that way, especially my Emory students.  I teach and work in my private practice at a doctoral level in my field every day , but I am well aware that having a doctorate doesn't mean I know everything possible to know about psychology.  

Again, a degree, a certification level, a title (unless you are born into a title in a country with royalty), generally means you have worked to attain knowledge and are pushing yourself to grow.  At the same time, it doesn't mean that other people who haven't gone through the process are not also equally knowledgeable - they simply are choosing a different way to go about it.

Linda T
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« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2011, 07:53:08 AM »

"I don't have anything nice to say" but I'll still reply and get my little jab in while portraying myself at a higher level"

"So any posts you don't agree with, varying opinions not in line with yourself, a topic you don't like, or something too close to the truth, and it automatically invokes a response denigrating in nature towards the other person."

Yes, that is exactly how I read your post. Thanks for explaining your intentions.

"I simply expressed some of my feelings towards the master bee programs. But I see it's just easier to throw mud, and claim superior "something" while adding absolutely nothing to the discussion."

I read it more like this:

"Rather than express some of my feelings towards the master bee programs, it's just easier to throw mud, and claim superior "something" while adding absolutely nothing to the discussion."

Personally, I think you are just trolling for attention, and would likely have came out in favor of the program if Tillie had been against it. I've gotten that feeling from several posts lately.

 


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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2011, 08:41:18 AM »

I applaud those who do talks and educate the public. Myself...I have one this Sunday at a state park. But I don't need a title to do such things for the bee industry.

Weren't you banned from the local park? 
Something about howling at the Moon and screaming at inanimate objects.  What, did you get the ankle bracelet off again?   evil

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« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2011, 01:13:46 PM »

Well obviously the education and the certification has to be controlled.  We may disagree about how it is controlled and the methods and such.  If it weren't then it would be a beekeeping Woodstock (or is that Bud's??) grin

But it is all based on an average of what we know, and rolling averages of history aren't what is current, and change slowly.

Maybe instead of speaking out AGAINST the "establishment" it might be better to have more apply and get certified and work on changing it from the inside!
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