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Beekeeping class offered through Community Ed

WORTHINGTON — District 518 Community Education is offering a class on raising honey bees, with Luverne beekeeper Tim Olsen as teacher. The class, titled “The Magic of the Honey Bee: The Art and Science of Beekeeping,” is scheduled from 7-9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Worthington High School media center.

Olsen grew up on a farm near Windom. After attending the University of Minnesota, working as a U of M county Extension agent, going to seminary and working with Iowa churches for a few years, Olsen returned to southwest Minnesota.

“The farm boy in me got re-sparked,” Olsen said. He wanted to get back in touch with his agricultural roots but wasn’t interested in having large animals. Beekeeping was a happy medium, and he quickly fell in love with it.

Of all the animals Olsen has worked with, he says bees have been the most challenging. He loves the intellectual exercise that beekeeping requires, but he also describes the process as therapeutic.

Beekeeping is “a hobby on steroids,” Olsen says. He loves beekeeping so much that he is President of the Northwest Iowa Beekeepers Association. This role has led him to associations with many other beekeepers, a group he describes as “a dedicated bunch of good people.”

The class offered in Worthington is not a class about how to keep bees. It is a class about bees themselves and what it means to keep them.

This class is designed as a teaser for classes Olsen will offer in February in Okoboji, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, S.D. Those classes are 9 hours long and will get into the mechanics of beekeeping.

On Thursday, Olsen will present an introduction to bees — how they work together, their hive communities and the role beekeepers play.  

Olsen hopes the class will de-romanticize beekeeping and highlight what is both challenging and rewarding about it. He wants attendees to “fall in love with honeybees” after learning about how they operate. Beekeeping requires commitment, and Olsen hopes as a result of this class his students will love bees enough to commit.

Last year about 20 people attended the class, hailing from Worthington, Windom and Sibley to learn from Olsen.

To register for the class, call 376-6105 or visit isd518.net/enrichment. A registration fee applies.