I, with much trepidation at the time, put my hand up to serve as President at the last AGM, even though I wasn’t there. I was having fun in the U.S state of Vermont, beekeeping in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer. On my return, it was straight into the fire not only being new president, but also presenting at my first meeting back, on my time spent with Mike Palmer and his team at ‘French Hill Apiaries”.
It has been another very busy, active and successful year for our club, the first few months with much time spent organizing our club field day “Meet the Bees” on October 23rd at the Mirboo North recreation reserve. Events such as these require a dedicated group of people putting in a significant amount of time and energy to cover all bases and hopefully make it a successful event. I’m sure you will all agree, despite having to resort to our wet weather program, that it was a resounding success. Over 200 people attended, there were 8 new memberships on the day (4 single and 4 family) and it made $1000 profit. A big thankyou goes out to everyone who helped make this day the success that it was from the organizing committee, who put in many hours work to the people who turned up on the day to assist in whatever way they could. I would like to personally thank our Vice President Colin Goodwin, who put in a huge effort in the co-ordination of the event, thanks Colin!.
Unfortunately the year was not been without a significant loss to our club with the untimely passing of Howard Stevens. Howard was one of a significant core group of people that started the South Gippsland Beekeepers club and we are very grateful for his significant input into our club. Howard was immensely proud of our club. While Howard’s beekeeping knowledge and natural teaching ability is a huge loss to our club, the greater loss is of a friend and gentleman to many. As most of you know we created a club “Most valuable member award” in the past year with the first being awarded to Kate Senko. It has since been renamed, with Howard’s blessing, to the “Howard Stevens’ Most Valuable Member Award”, and the committee felt it was appropriate to be represented to Kate under the new name. I’m very pleased that this will be done at our meeting in August by Howard’s wife Lucy.
My year as president has been a satisfying and rewarding one and made all the more easy with a very capable committee. A big thank you goes to Colin Goodwin, Bronwyn and David Barton, Steve Lovie, Peter Galt, Don McClean and Julian Walker. As a group they have all been very talented and fantastic to “bounce” thoughts and ideas off, which has made the decision making process on various issues a lot easier.
Bronwyn is stepping back to take a well earned break as the secretary of the committee. I have and I know Steve has as well found her efforts on the committee invaluable as she put 110% into every task and always knew when to give the president a poke to get things done, such as the President’s report . However we are very fortunate that Bronwyn is continuing to produce the newsletter, which I’m sure the new secretary will be very grateful for, thanks Bronwyn!
Bronwyn has also continued to keep the club website updated with additions including a page dedicated to our new members which contains all of the information previously offered in the beginners pack. This initiative has eliminated the need for copious printing and made this information available to anyone who visits the site.
Steve is also stepping back from the committee after 2 years as President and a further one to assist me in my first year as President. Steve has also been a reliable presence throughout the year for me to consult with at times and his advice has always been measured and thoughtful. I must add that he is always the last one out the door at our club meetings, ensuring that all is packed up and turned off at the end of the night, thanks Steve!
We have had two excellent guest speakers this year who were both very entertaining and knowledgeable. Neil Barraclough gave a presentation on Pollination and his knowledge on the subject was very impressive and enlightening. He shared a lot of information on the subject that many weren’t aware of. Ian Cane from the GAA also gave a fascinating personal insight into the seasonal journey of a commercial beekeeper throughout Victoria and how he moves his bees between pollination contracts and honey crops and the logistics that are involved. We look forward to organizing a field trip to see Ian's operation hopefully in the coming summer.
Kate and Lorrae have been great ambassadors for our club visiting Poowong Kindergarten, Leongatha play group and keeping children entertained at the “Meet the Bees” field day last spring. They have been instilling the importance of the honeybee to the younger members of our community through fun games and activities. They are both a great asset to our club!.
The club has flown the flag again at the Sea Days Festival, the Foster Show, a Landcare field event and the Loch Food and Wine Festival. It’s important that our club is represented at these events to help maintain the viability of our club and also to spread the message on the importance of the honeybee and responsible beekeeping. Thank you again to those members who have given their time to represent our club at these events, it’s very much appreciated.
It has been great to see different members from our club get up throughout the year to give presentations or advice on various aspects on beekeeping such as Russell Harbour’s ‘Steritech’ presentation, Rob Franssen’s demonstrations of his various inventions, our Q/A sessions with our club mentors and our night on beekeeping hardware where various members got up to present various pieces of equipment that they use. Thank you to all contributors!
Thankyou also to Linda for continuing to promote our club in the GAA newsletter and to the GAA for its continuing support.
Finally a thank you to all members for being supportive throughout the year and being a friendly bunch of people. That is our club’s greatest asset.