College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Beekeeping Workshop Connects WWP and IAA

Randie Hovatter
Wounded Warrior Project alumni enjoyed a free beekeeping workshop at the IAA.

Connecting military veterans with agriculture is a cause that is close to Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) alum Robert “Bob” Borkowski’s heart. As a military veteran and retired University of Maryland, Baltimore police officer, Bob puts the skills he learned as an Agricultural Business Management student to regular use with his Beekeeping 101 workshops. Beekeeping is a passion that he has followed since first discovering the hobby through a youth 4-H project with his son, Bradley, several years ago. Since graduation, Borkowski has led several free community apiculture workshops and has begun to establish his own beekeeping business.

When Borkowski expressed an interest in hosting a beekeeping workshop specifically for Wounded Warrior Project veterans, alumni manager Coleman Brooks and outreach coordinator Joe Alotto graciously provided textbooks and gathered almost 30 attendees. Other participants included prospective IAA students and members of The Universities at Shady Grove’s USG Vets Club.

The Institute of Applied Agriculture was happy to provide a venue and lunch to keep the workshop free for participants. Burgeoning beekeepers came from as far away as southern Delaware; several brought spouses and family members who were also interested in learning the tricks of the trade.

Borkowski led into the workshop with a presentation on the basics of apiculture, followed by Dr. Kirsten and Michael Traynor, who captivated everyone with stories of international travel and cultural nuances in the practice of beekeeping across the globe.

Dr. Kirsten Traynor and Michael Traynor are the authors of Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey, as well as Simple, Smart Beekeeping. The necessary basic materials for beekeeping were also discussed. Emphasis was placed on not falling into the “trap” of expensive start-up materials. To paraphrase Dr. Kirsten Traynor, “Duct tape has endless uses for a beekeeper.”

Borkowski and the Traynors agreed that with a little bit of guidance, beekeeping can be a very affordable, relaxing, and rewarding hobby with great potential to evolve into a full-time business.

After lunch, the group traveled to the North Campus Dining Hall to visit the active beehives on the roof. The rooftop hives are tended by the University of Maryland Beekeeping Club. Everyone admired the sight of bees buzzing around their colorfully painted box dwellings as Borkowski described the advantages and disadvantages of the rooftop arrangement.


The workshop concluded with a Q and A session, during which participants reflected on all that they had learned throughout the day. Needless to say, after the success of this inaugural event, the Institute of Applied Agriculture looks forward to hosting more hands-on workshops with the Wounded Warrior Project!

>> View event photos on Flickr
>> Download Bob's "Beginning Beekeeper" supply list
>> Visit Dr. Kirsten and Michael Traynor’s website

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