Classes


2021 classes and workshops

Except for outdoor field workshops, which will be limited in size and in which all participants will be required to wear face masks, class sessions (until further notice) will be via Zoom.

Backyard Beekeeping (Saturday, March 13 or April 17 or November 13 or December 4, 9:00am – 12:00pm, $65)

Considering becoming a beekeeper?   Take the first step by learning about this fascinating and important pollinator. This is a great time of year for new beekeepers to start planning so equipment is ready and bees are ordered in time for the 2016 season.

In this class, you’ll learn about the roles of the queen, workers and drones within a colony and how they interact with seasonal cycles.  Learn about basic considerations you’ll need to take into account before jumping into this exciting new hobby including where to place your hive, equipment options and sources, bee sources, and time required.

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

Planting for Pollinators!

Join us for 8 informative sessions to learn how to transform your garden into a low input / high output habitat to support biodiversity! We’ll meet monthly from March to October (see specific dates and details here) on Sundays from 9:30am – 11:30am.   No prior experience necessary! You’ll learn the basics you need to remove unwanted lawn and/or “weeds” without chemicals and replace with climate appropriate selections that are beautiful, will support declining populations of pollinators, and will likely require less water and maintenance than your yard currently demands.

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

Beginner Beekeeping field workshop (March 27, 9:30am – 12:30pm, 3 hours, $75)

Observe different colonies of bees and practice working with your tools… and bees!

Location TBD, tent. San Rafael (Rain date April 10)

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

Field Workshop: Beekeeping Basics (Saturday, May 15, 9:30am – 12:30pm, $75)

You have your bees, now what??  Learn tips and techniques for using smoker, bee brush and hive tool.   Will look into how to work your frames and what to be looking for to determine health of your queen and the colony as a whole.  As urban beekeepers, it is important to prevent swarming (to the best of our ability), so you’ll learn what causes swarming , how to prevent, and how to recognize early warnings that a colony is making preparations to swarm.    You’ll also get to see what a laying worker colony looks like (we inevitably have a few from queens who didn’t successfully return from mating during our nuc production) and techniques for making it queenright.

Location: TBD (Marin…likely San Rafael)

Register through The Fairfax Backyard Farmer. 

Field Workshop: Intermediate Beekeeping (Saturday, May 15, 1:30pm – 4:30pm, $75)

An overwintered colony requires different spring management than a new colony.  Some of the topics covered will include space management in the hive, queen issues (when you might need to replace and how you do that), and splitting a hive (for colony increase, swarm prevention, or as a method of varroa control).

Location: TBD (Marin…likely San Rafael)

Register through The Fairfax Backyard Farmer

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Class (Saturday, July 10, 9am – 12pm, $65 or $125 total if paired with IPM field workshop)

The challenges of managing pests and diseases in your colony can be overwhelming.  We will look at the potential risks and benefits of various tools and techniques available to manage common pests and diseases in your colony.

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Field Workshop (Location TBA, Saturday, July 17, 9am – 12pm, $75 or $125 total if paired with IPM Class)

We’ll be evaluating colony conditions and looking at different management options.  Workshop will include conducting sugar rolls to determine mite infestation % levels and organic options for dealing with mites.

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

The Hows of Honey (Saturday, September 11, 9am – 12pm)

In honor of David Peterson, who for years has generously held a group extraction party for Marin Beekeepers, there is no fee for this class. However, we welcome you to make a donation to the Fairfax Backyard Farmer to support this valuable community resource.

Ready for your first harvest?  Join Bonnie Bee & Company (aka Bonnie & Gary) as we discuss the “How’s of Honey:” How much you can harvest, how to collect honey from the hive, how to extract, how to clean up, how to process cappings, and more. (extraction equipment is also available for take home rental)

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

Overwintering Your Bees: Class (Saturday, September 18, 9am – 12:00pm, $65)

Preparing for winter, how to handle common winter problems, how to clean up / store equipment.

Location: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax.

Register through The Fairfax Backyard Farmer

 

Overwintering Your Bees: Field Workshop (Location TBA, Saturday, September 25, 9am – 12:00pm, $75 or $125 total if paired with Overwintering field workshop)

We’ll dive into hives to look at how much space needs to be reduced for winter, how much honey can be pulled, clean / store hive boxes for winter, and show you a use for the propolis scrapings.

Register through The Fairfax Backyard Farmer

Products from the Hive (Saturday, November 6, 9:00am – 12:00pm, $95, includes materials fee)

Using the recipes from Janice Cox’s books and ingredients from the hive, we will make: 1) Bath bombs, 2) Bath salts, 3) Hand cream, 4) Lip balm.  You will get to take home your creations.

Location: Depending on COVID: either your home via Zoom or The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

Register through The Fairfax Backyard Farmer.

In addition to our regularly scheduled classes, we can customize a workshop for your group, whether it’s a small group of friends interested in learning more about caring for their hives or a large company gathering where people just want to know more about bees in general.

Need some immediate assistance?  Contact us about coming out to help inspect your hive or refer to the Additional Resources section for links to online help.

Classes finished for 2021.  Watch for them in 2022!

Beginner Beekeeping class series  (9 hours, $185)

Know you want to keep bees? Classroom sessions will include basic bee information, seasonal cycles of a colony, equipment options, where to place your hive, how to get bees and tips on working with your equipment. When the weather warms up, there will be a field session so you can observe and practice working with your tools and bees.

$30 discount if you already took the Backyard Beekeeping Class. Some of the information will be repetitive, but there’s a lot of information, so probably not a bad thing!

Class room sessions:  Saturdays, January 23 & 30, 9am – 12pm

Field Day: Sat., March 20, 9:30am – 12:30pm, location TBD, tent. San Rafael (Rain date April 3)

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

Intermediate Beekeeping class series (9 hours, $185)

You’ve got your colony through winter (or not) – now what? Class sessions will include how to clean up your equipment, expanding hive size for spring, swarm prevention- and if that fails, swarm capture, setting up bait hives for swarms, identification of common pest and diseases and management options for them. Topics will also include dealing with special situations: aggressive hives, queen failures, and laying workers. Field day will include information on how to split a colony, pest and disease ID, and swarm prevention.

Class room sessions: Saturdays, February 6 & 13,5, 9am – 12pm

Field Day: Sat., March 20, 1:30pm – 4:30pm, location TBD, tent. San Rafael (Rain date April 3)

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

 

Evaluating Your Yard as a Pollinator Habitat (Saturday February 20 or October, 3 hours, $65)

Want to make your yard a pollinator paradise but aren’t sure where to begin? You’ll have an opportunity to submit photos of your yard you want to improve prior to the class so it can be evaluated. There will also be a presentation on garden maintenance and plant selection that can help guide your yard management decisions to improve supporting biodiversity…and limiting your needed inputs (financially and timewise).

Registration: The Fairfax Backyard Farmer, 135 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax

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