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Student beekeepers

Our Niagara-on-the-Lake campus is now home to an on-campus apiary! The 30 actively managed hives will serve as a centerpiece for the new Commercial Beekeeping Graduate Certificate program starting in January 2017 – the only program of its kind in Eastern Canada. With a program start of January, it will run parallel to the normal annual lifecycle of the honey bee, from the winter slumber to honey extraction, to returning the bees to their hives for overwintering. The program has been in development for four years, in collaboration with the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association (OBA), which represents 80 percent of beekeepers in Ontario to create a hands-on program that will produce graduates that are knowledgeable, highly skilled and experienced. “The need for a skilled labour force to offset the loss of a natural ecological process is significant,” said Al Unwin, associate dean of Niagara College’s School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies. “The development of this program aligns with our overall approach to agri-food, where pollinators are an increasingly important part of a vibrant food system.” The demand for skilled workers to support the pollination services industry is significant. In its most recent agricultural census, Statistics Canada estimates a need for more than 3,600 commercial beekeepers by 2026.