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

The Amazon in the Modern World

Amazon class summer 2015

This July, eight George Mason University students joined New Century College’s German Perilla on an Amazonian adventure, learning the basic principles of sustainable beekeeping and community development. The class spent two weeks in two communities in rural Peru, where they studied beekeeping and the different ways it can positively impact a community.

The course called “The Amazon in the Modern World” (EVPP 505 and NCLC 498) taught graduate and undergraduate students the basic principles of sustainable beekeeping. From that foundation, students pursued their own research of factors impacting community development and the intersection where beekeeping could help a community attain different goals. For example, one student studied the environmental impact of sustainable beekeeping, while another researched the entrepreneurial aspects of marketing and selling bee-related products. Other students researched the educational, social and health implications of beekeeping in a community.

As part of the course, Perilla matched each student with specific community leaders engaged in activities related to the student’s research interests. For one entire week, the students shadowed their partner, assisting with routine functions and special projects planned by his or her partner.

Perilla said, “I was very glad to see the partnerships blossom and the students truly embrace their opportunity to work with and learn from the local experts. Each partnership was different and each was successful. I’m gratified to hear students already talking about returning to the communities next year.”


  • German working with bees
  • German and Student
  • Visiting school children
  • Class photo
  • Local residents working on hive
  • Bee hive
  • Bees
  • Building hives
  • German Perilla
  • School children
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