Issue 43 | February 1, 2013 | Featuring Benjamin Werner

 

They live in Germantown, Wisconsin, from June to November and in Webster, Florida, from December to May.  Sounds ideal, doesn't it?  But why would a family make that trip every year?  Snowbirds?    No, beekeepers!  Read about Benjamin Werner in our featured student section below.

Also this week, we bring you two helpful suggestions about making your transcript more attractive to college enrollment officers.

Plus, as of today, there is only 1 month left to get $50 off your tuition and get a free Log Book or Resource Advisor!

INSIDE NARHS: Building an Attractive Transcript

From  Careers and Colleges magazine (collegeXpress.com) come two helpful suggestions for high school students wanting to build a college-attractive transcript or resume.

  1. Colleges treasure "angled" applicants who develop a passion and pursue courses and activities related to their interests. Having such focus says something about the student:
    You are so psyched about your prospective major or career path that you just couldn't wait until college to learn more. 
  2. Community service and volunteer work is must for a high school student going anywhere after graduation.  Extended projects are particular noteworthy because of the message they send about the student:
    You care about the world around you, and you're willing to put in the work to make it a better place.  Deep character is evident here.  
Save $50 per student 
Use promo code: 50OFF (Five-Zero-O-F-F) at checkout at NARHS.org, or mention this deal over the phone to save $50 on NARHS Tuition when paid by February 28, 2013 and receive a free Log Book or Resource Advisor by mail.  Offer applies to any school year not yet paid for.  Free book may be subject to shipping fees.
Feel free to share this offer with anyone you think would benefit from NARHS!
Offer Expires: February 28, 2013
FEATURED THIS WEEK: Benjamin Werner and the Ancient Art of Apiculture

 

 
Benjamin Werner
Benjamin Werner

Benjamin's parents, Chris and Becky Werner, began theirbeekeeping business in the 1980's, long before Benjamin was born, so he has grown up in this lifestyle and adjusted quite well.  In the honeybee industry, traveling to supply bees for pollination to farmers is essential for both the agricultural industry as well as the keeper's own livelihood.  After the deep winter is over, the crops in the southern regions begin to bloom and the warmth moves northward.  There is a window of opportunity for pollination and the bees must be there to do their important work.

 

Having grown up working in the family business, Benjamin was trained  early-on to help with all the tasks including moving the hives at appropriate times,  attending to the health of the hive, stimulating the creation of queen bees, and extracting honey and wax for their retail business.  All of this was explained in a very detailed report assigned by his home schooling mom that was part of the recent portfolio.   It was obvious that Benjamin was more than just a helper on the farm, he could write in a way that was interesting and informative.  You will see what I mean as you enjoy his description of an incident that occurred a few years back.

 

If you tell me, it's an essay. If you show me, it's a story. -Barbara Greene

 

             

Werner Family
Werner Family

  The first time that I ever unloaded a semi load of bees (I was probably about ten or eleven), I was "privileged" enough to have it come all the way from California. The ride from California to Wisconsin took about three days, so as you can imagine, the bees were pretty anxious to get out of their hives. Now before we really get into the story, I just have to reinforce the point that it was my FIRST time; obviously I had worked in the bees before this, so I knew how to put on a veil, and tie it and everything, but I guess in all of the excitement of finally being able to unload a semi, I forgot all previous knowledge. Getting back to the story, the semi arrived relatively early in the afternoon, so it was still quite warm, and due to the fact that it was still quite warm, we had to unload them immediately to keep them from overheating.  The first lesson in beekeeping is: while loading or unloading bees, it should either be early in the morning or in the evening, so that the bees are IN their hives and NOT flying around. Now obviously due to the fact that it was quite warm, we had to ignore the first rule. So as we began to light the smokers, and put our veils on, I really began to get nervous, not only because of the millions of angry bees on the other side of the single piece of mesh netting, but because I had heard stories from my two older brothers about my dad, who was in the skid steer unloading the bees, getting quite peeved when he started to get stung. Anyhow, I couldn't stand there dreading my predicament forever, and even if I wanted too, I wouldn't have been able too, because the other guys already started to take the straps off the truck, so I sucked it up and started smoking the load.

               

Bee Smoker
Photo Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, used underGFDL v1.2 license.

Now you may be wondering what a smoker is exactly; basically, it smokes. We put pine needles, and wood pellets into the canister, and then light it, and once it is properly lit, we rhythmically press the smoker bellows, and it smokes. The idea of a smoker is that the smoke will cover up the bees' warning pheromones, and thus calm them. Well, there comes a time when no matter how much smoke you use, they just don't settle down, and sadly to say, that load was one of those times.

The scariest moment, and the moment I will probably never forget, was when the truck driver pulled off the net. Usually one of us from the farm would do it, but as it happened the truck driver had had some experience with transporting bees before, and he had a full bee suit, so he got the lucky job of removing the net, which in order to do so, the person has to be on top of the entire load. When he pulled the net off, his white bee suit turned black with honeybees. It seemed like every bee in all of the boxes, were out flying around the truck, and stinging any living thing. One of the annoying things about honeybees is the fact that they don't just land and sting you, which wouldn't be so bad. No, instead they land and crawl into every crevice they can find, which for me, happened to be quite a few, especially the crevices around my improperly tied veil. Well I lasted about two whole minutes, and then ran to the bushes in a cloud of white smoke. Praise the Lord for kind and compassionate older brothers; Caleb came over, reiterated the fact that I did in fact have my veil on wrong, helped me put it on the RIGHT way, slapped me on the back, and sent me back out into the chaos. As it was my first semi, and the bees were extremely sassy, my dad was pretty understanding, which is not to say that he didn't yell, "I want thick clouds of copious white smoke!!" quite a few times. But all the same, he never really got angry, only loud, which anybody does when they get stung at least a few dozen times. Finally, about two hours later, when we finally finished unloading, I just about ran back to the house, where I drank lots of water, and used up lots of ice (if you are wondering why I did that, it's because if you sustain a great many stings, or even just one, and have a mild reaction, it's good to drink a lot of fluids; and ice helps reduce swelling).  

                Since the time of that very first and painful semi, I have helped to load and unload many more, and I am pleased to say, that I have never had an experience quite like that one, so far at least.

               

 

By reading this exceptional narrative, you might possibly agree that Benjamin is a natural-born storyteller; it shows the same interesting flare that caught my attention reading his assigned paper on "Life as Bee Keepers". There seems to be a natural storytelling urge and ability that even just a little nurturing of this impulse can bring about astonishing and delightful results.  Benjamin hopes for future study to be Creation or Marine Biology so he will be able to invest his skills in the Coast Guard, perhaps as an environmental specialist.  Both he and his brother spend time preparing for short term missionary work, usually in the Caribbean Island areas, sharing the message of hope and grace through Vacation Bible School and youth rallies.  That is where the storytelling gift in Benjamin will shine.