With as much nonchalance as one picking a crumb up off the table, Dr. Evan Sugden reached down onto the beehive frame and picked up a live bee to show the class. He explained the bee’s anatomy while the students around him observed the creature in his fingers. Then he dropped it back onto the bee-covered hive.
Sugden was teaching the UW course Biology 399: Native Bees, Honey Bees, Pollination, and Practical Beekeeping. Twice a week, this class of 14 students meets for three hours to learn about bees. Each class, students take in a one-hour lecture and then head out to the UW’s hives for two hours of hands-on experience with bees.
This is only the second time the course has been offered — the first time was last summer — and the small class was capped at 15 students. Sugden’s efforts brought the beehives to the UW in 2007 and this course to the university in the summer of 2011.
"This was a request on my part to find some way to teach a beekeeping course which would be both practical and intellectual regarding biology,” Sugden said. “The [biology] department decided somewhat benevolently to allow me do it as part of the internship program.”
With the help of outside funding and support from the UW Farm, Sugden was able to set up the hives, maintain them throughout the years, and now teach a course in hopes of sharing this sustainable practice with others.