Beekeeper Learning Circles

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2023: $29,741.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Julia McGuire
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Julia McGuire
Julia McGuire

Information Products


  • Animals: bees
  • Animal Products: honey


  • Crop Production: beekeeping
  • Education and Training: technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: market readiness
  • Sustainable Communities: social networks

    Proposal abstract:

    Local bee clubs can never accommodate all the topics its members want, especially the ones that require time- and resource-intensive topics such as queen rearing, splits, and cut outs and swarms. Monthly meetings are constrained with time of day, length of meeting, indoor settings and attendance by mixed levels of prior connections and experience. By producing Learning Circle field days and monthly maintenance calls, Iowa beekeepers will get the learning they want and the partners will get to efficiently teach their special skills without the worry of administrative tasks that organizing a field day requires.

    Field day topics were chosen to increase the sustainability of beekeeping: splits prevent lost swarms while continuing genetic preferences, queen rearing combats the high cost of time-sensitive requeening while also continuing genetic preferences or introducing diversity, cut outs and swarms fight chemical bee removals and improve community safety while increasing genetic diversity. Field days and Zoom calls will increase social sustainability, too.

    Lastly, learning circles can include the many learners who do not have club memberships.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The learning circle model will span one year with 12 monthly Zoom meetings, three in-person field days, a culminating event, and storytelling to promote the learning circle model in the future and cement the experience for participants. This project is for beekeepers interested in learning about topics that require more time than a monthly club meeting, but not so much time that a person couldn’t travel there and back in a day.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.