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NJBA President's Message April-May, 2013
Thanks to everyone who emailed, called and personally wished me well as I settled into the presidency of our Association. I look forward to working with the board and all the members in the nine branches to move beekeeping in New Jersey forward.
I have spent the time since our winter meeting attending some branch meetings, i.e., Northeast, Northwest, Essex and Morris, and hope to get to the remaining branches in the coming months. The task of organizing and prioritizing the tasks and issues facing the NJBA is daunting, but one that I’m already enjoying taking on.
Foremost was setting dates and planning for the remaining state meetings in 2013. As I write this, we plan to have the spring state meeting on June 1, 2013 at Fellowship Village in Basking Ridge, the site of the fall state meeting in 2011 sponsored by the Morris-Somerset branch. As time was short, the state will run this meeting in lieu of having a branch sponsor it. The annual picnic and auction of equipment will be held on August 17, 2013 at the same venue as last year, the Ewing Senior and Community Center. The Central Jersey branch has volunteered to host the fall state meeting at the EcoComplex in Bordentown on October 19th, with Professor Thomas D. Seeley as the featured speaker. I hope that you’ll save those dates. In addition, we’ll set the 2014 schedule for state meetings as soon as possible so that we can all plan ahead.
Under the direction of our late president, Bill Coniglio, and thanks to the grant writing skills of Julie Jurusz of the Central branch we have been awarded a $21,680 Specialty Crop Block Grant. This is a two-year year project, which will be co-chaired by Master Gardener Lorette Cheswick of the Morris-Somerset branch and Joe Alvarez of the Jersey Cape branch. This description can be found on the USDA website: “Partner with the New Jersey Beekeepers Association to reverse the decline of pollinators such as bees, wasps, butterflies and flies by fostering practices that support them throughout the growing season through an educational video and presentation, the free distribution of 50,000 late summer and fall pollen and nectar-producing perennial forage plants to the public, and the establishment of test plots to determine effectiveness and maintenance of various plants as an ongoing source of forage for honey bees and other pollinators.” Lorette and Joe will need volunteers with very diverse skills for this grant, and we’ll be reaching out to the membership with how you can get involved.
Swarm season is upon us, and there has been a scramble to get the Swarm Removal page ready. A very tedious and manual process in past years, I thank Geff Vitale of the Central branch for volunteering his time and programming skills to automate the listings of members who wish to make themselves available to the public to field calls to collect honey bee swarms. Using a survey tool and MySQL databases on the state website, members are able to add, modify or delete their own listing, and the page is dynamically created, checking that you’re a member in in good standing, i.e., your dues are paid for the current year. Thank you Geff!
The Winter Loss Survey is once again underway and will close on April 22nd. The survey, created using Survey Monkey by Northeast member Rachel Avenia-Prol for the second year, is an invaluable tool for our State Apiarist Tim Schuler in providing him with data on treating for mites and feeding, which he then passes on to the Association for the benefit of all members. This year Tim also got help from George Sereduk of the Central branch who entered survey data for our members who don’t have access to the internet.
Chris Yates, of the Morris-Somerset branch and our recently elected state third vice president, will be chairing a committee to update the NJBA Constitution and Bylaws (C&BL). The members of the committee are Ned Morgan (South Jersey), Bill Eisele (Jersey Cape), John Gaut (Northeast), Jeff Burd (Central and state second vice president), Dave Kunz (Sussex) and Charles Ilsley (Northwest). Chris will be communicating with the Essex and Raritan branches to represent their interests in the process. I’ve asked Chris to undertake the update in two parts. Making a minor change to allow absentee voting by the membership, which must be in place before the 2014 annual meeting and election, followed by a more comprehensive revision to update the C&BL to better reflect how we do business and allow us to operate more efficiently.
I urge all members to submit articles to our state newsletter editor and state first vice president, Angelo Trapani, with some of the exciting activities at your branch. Ned Morgan of South Jersey has promised to provide an article on the work his branch is doing with 4H; Lynn Paglia and Rich Schluger of Northeast are going to provide an article on their project with Ramapo College to place hives on campus. At Central, Peter Cheney advises me that they are working on a project with students which will culminate in having the students present what they have learned about beekeeping to a branch meeting. Isn’t your branch doing something you’d like to share with Association members? Write an article! Submit a photo with a caption!
There will be ample opportunities for members to volunteer at the state level over the coming months, and I’ll be reaching out via email and this newsletter for folks with a wide range of skills willing to work on the Scholarship (Chair Ray Markley – South Jersey), Membership (Chair Rich Schluger – Northeast), Publicity, Website and other committees. Frank Mortimer of Northeast has some terrific ideas about marketing (his area of expertise) our Association.
Janet A. Katz, NJBA President
The first place winner in the Photography Division of the 2009 Annual Honey Show was this closeup of a worker on an Echinacea flower. (Photo by Susan E. Ellis)
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