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Farewell to VBA

Outgoing VBA President Bill Mares gave the following speech at the 2011 Vermont Beekeepers Association Summer meeting last weekend...

Thanks for Stuart Alexander, Bill Smith, Beth Griffin, Paul Yanus and others for putting on such a fine summer meeting.

I want to thank you all for the opportunity to serve you and the bees for three years, two great groups of engaging billblogcreatures.

We've ridden the worries and concerns about CCD to record numbers of novice beekeepers. VBA now has almost 500 members. There are six local clubs around the state.

Many hands always make little work, and I've been blessed to have folks like Mike and Diane, and Valarie, and Mike Willard and Kim Greenwood, Greg Smela, Maddie Sobel who have borne much of the load.

We are close to getting status with the IRS to permit you to make a tax-deductible gifts to VBA.

Steve Parise and Ross Conrad have spear-headed an excellent certification program, with now over 20 members.

We've been awarded $25,000 in three grants to improve beekeeping in the state—newbies, queen-rearing and now "train the trainers."

I started keeping bees about 40 years ago, and I'm just as excited now as I was at the beginning. I love turning people onto the legal drug of beekeeping. I've fielded countless calls on swarms, diseases, insecticides, worried neighbors, and disappearing queens. I calculated that in seven years of teaching beekeeping at CVU, more than 500 have taken our classes with Scott Wilson, Russ Aceto, Rick Stoner and Mike Willard.

My service to VBA won't end here; as President of the Eastern Apicultural Society, I'll be thinking about bees every day from now until August 13, 2012. But I only took this job because I knew that Vermont's beekeepers were ready to help us put on the best EAS Conference since the LAST time Vermont was the host.

We have a wonderful organization, which is destined for even greater good work under Chas Mraz' leadership.

Thanks again, Bill