The Honey Bee Initiative
A joint partnership between the School of Business and the College of Science

George Mason Bees Go Global

Go on a virtual adventure with New Century College faculty member German Perilla as he travels through Peru, Colombia and El Salvador. German will be meeting with local indigenous communities as they explore different methods for bee keeping. In many cultures, bee keeping can be an important contributor to the local economy, providing valuable incomes and encouraging local residents to protect natural areas where bees live. German works with community members to develop bee keeping practices in line with local resources. German will send virtual postcards from each of his stops, so join the NCC team as we learn about his travels.

Updates From German

Weeks Two and Three - Honey Bee Initiative Working in Colombia

German just concluded a community assessment and beekeeping training session with residents from the El Bosque coffee plantation located in El Socorro, northern Colombia. The goal of this training is to provide community members with the knowledge and skills needed to develop and manage their own honey bee hives, providing additional sources of nutrition and income to the community.

German developed this assessment and training program with the hopes that the information can be shared in neighboring communities using a train-the-trainer approach. The initial work began with 18 women from 18 different families, assigned to different working groups based on their home’s proximity to others. Mentors and community leaders were identified and assigned specific tasks. German distributed ten sets of bee handling equipment among participants, and after individual instruction and mentoring, achieved the goal of leaving ten installed hives in the community.

Future plans in the El Bosque community include more advanced training for keepers of Meliponas and Apis bees, the development and implementation of socially responsible bee-related industries, training in environmental sustainability, decision-making and program administration. Ultimately community leaders and mentors will share this information and training with other households and communities, so that others have additional sources of income that are environmentally sound.

German noted that specifically training women to keep bees and manage any bee-related products offers them additional educational and income generating opportunities that they may not otherwise have. He plans to visit this community again next summer to provide more advanced training and support. Later this week, German will leave Colombia and travel to Santa Clara, El Salvador where he will work with other communities interested in beekeeping.



Week One Adventures

German Perilla spent two days in Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon and capital of the Loreto Region in Peru's northeast corner. With 420,000 residents, Iquitos is the world's largest city inaccessible by road. German arrived by plane on Sunday and spent a day collecting supplies in preparation for his trip into the jungle.

From Iquitos, German travelled to the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve, an area of lowland rainforest with more than 90 species of mammals and almost 600 species of birds. As he travels, German is working with local residents who want to develop environmentally-sustainable beekeeping programs to improve their local economy and help the rainforest.




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