Keeping Carymoor's Bees Buzzing
Beekeeper Stewart on volunteering at Carymoor
Published: 19th Jun 2019
The honey bees at Carymoor have an important job to do. With a wide range of habitats on our nature reserve, from wildflower meadows to orchards, bees and other pollinators are a vital part of the ecosystem. Volunteer beekeeper Stewart Holden tells us about his work helping to keep Carymoor’s honey bees healthy…
How and why did you first start volunteering at Carymoor?
Since childhood I’ve had a deep interest in natural history and wildlife; as a boy I was particularly keen on butterflies and dragonflies. I have worked my entire career as a vet so, to me, wildlife has always been the relaxing side of dealing with animals. I started beekeeping at our home in Somerton 16 years ago. In August 2010 I donated one of 14 colonies I had to Carymoor to help pollinate the orchard on the site.
What do you get involved in?
I now look after three bee colonies at Carymoor, which means going to the site once a week in the summer, once a fortnight in the winter, to check on the hives. I also come to Carymoor to harvest honey, which is sold in the charity’s education centre, and to manage the observation hive, which we set up in the summer months to give over 1000 visitors each year, many of them school children, the opportunity to see the bees busy working. I keep the staff updated on what’s happening with the bees so they can share that information with visitors.
What do you enjoy about volunteering?
I enjoy explaining to visitors what we’re up to when I’m on site and the children ask amazingly good questions. I back the conservation work they are doing at Carymoor a thousand per cent; the charity really is doing an incredibly good job. The staff and other volunteers are welcoming and helpful. There’s a relaxed atmosphere; everything is highly organised but it is done quietly. They really appreciate what you do as a volunteer and they let you know that. It's a pleasure to go there every time.
What else do you gain from volunteering?
The nature reserve is wonderful. It's a retreat and as a keen photographer I enjoy taking my camera around the site throughout the seasons.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering?
Absolutely go and have a look and meet the staff. Everyone has different skills that can be put to good use.
Interested in getting involved at Carymoor? Whether you have a few hours to spare or you’d like to help out every week, there’s a volunteering opportunity to suit your skills and interests. Visit https://carymoor.volunteermakers.org to find out more.