Jacqueline and her husband Joseph moved onto their biodynamic farm in southwest Washington in 2001 and she got her first hives soon after. She attended conventional bee school and immediately knew there must be a different way to care for bees that is more respectful, more compassionate, more like the way feral bees live.
A few years later she began teaching this bee-centric approach in her classes, blending natural beekeeping and bee-driven insights into the nature of bees. She speaks and teaches about bees at events including the Organic Beekeepers Conference, Women in Agriculture, and Treatment-Free conferences across North America, UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany . She's written magazine articles for Natural Bee Husbandry, Biodynamics, Lilipoh, Home Orchard Society, Living in the Northwest, a chapter for the Queen of the Sun book. She appears in three documentaries: “Queen of the Sun,” “Dancing with Thoreau,” and the French film, “Abeilles: La Voix des Ruches.” Through the USDA, she worked with rural farmers and beekeepers in Dominican Republic using historic methods of respectful beekeeping.
In her life-before-bees, she founded a holistic health center and a women’s crisis center. For a dozen years she was on faculty for a Structural Integration school. In 2003, she and her husband Joseph started a school of Equine Structural Integration.
In 2016 her bee book, “The Song of Increase: Returning to our Sacred Partnership with Honeybees,” was self-published. Book sales immediately did so well that the book caught the interest of the publishing house Sounds True. They took it into international distribution under the title, “SONG OF INCREASE: Listening to the Wisdom of Honeybees for Kinder Beekeeping and a Better World.” It is now in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and on Audible.com. Her second book, co-written with Susan Knilans, is “WHAt BEES WANT: Beekeeping as Nature Intended” and shows how to create natural habitat for bees.
Recording bees allows Robin to engage in one of her favorite activities--field recording. She is blessed that the bees allow her to record and photograph them on an intimate level. She shares with Jacqueline a devotion to protecting bees. Her bee audio and photographs express this deeply felt commitment.
Robin Wise's interest in bees was sparked by the images of hieroglyphs of bee culture dating to pre-dynastic Egyptian times. While attending one of Jacqueline's bee classes, Robin resonated to Jacqueline's unique perspective about the bees. Robin offered her professional services to work with Jacqueline to help get this bee knowledge out into the world. Robin, who keeps bees at her home in Portland, Oregon, documents bee life through audio and photography.
Always a teacher, Robin has taught digital audio technology at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, the United Nations, AARP, and to countless independent audio and film producers.
Susan Knilans (also published under Susan Chernak McElroy)
This past spring Susan helped re-home ten swarms of bees that tumbled out — over a period of three weeks — from two of her backyard hives.
Teacher, master storyteller, and author of the classic New York Times Bestseller, "Animals as Teachers and Healers," Susan Chernak McElroy’s writings are published in more than twenty languages worldwide. She is a nationally recognized, passionate, and original voice on the subject of our emotional, biological, and sacred relationships with animals and wild nature.
Susan’s hives are the focus of her spiritual practice—the apiary as temple, teacher, divine inspiration, and meditation corner. She continues to study the science and the mystery of beekeeping, and believes that what is truly good for honeybees is equally good for human bee-ings.
A dynamic and gifted presenter, Susan is a powerful catalyst for personal growth and change. A long term-survivor of advanced cancer, she speaks from a rich body of lived experience, reminding us that our evolutionary journey toward becoming more fully human beings has included thousands of years of intimate connection with honeybees, animals, and the living Earth.