Georgia Master Beekeeper Program
GA Master Beekeepers in Georgia
The Georgia Master Beekeepers below have been established, by virtue of their successful achievement,
as authorities and educational resources in our community:
NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAINS
- Virginia Stephens Webb, Clarkesville
- Howard Reagan, Dawsonville
- Bud Champlin, Jasper
- Randy Rolen, Ringgold
CENTRAL GEORGIA PIEDMONT
- Noah Macey, Atlanta
- Julia Mahood, Atlanta
- Philip Quinn, Atlanta
- Linda Tillman, Atlanta
- Cindy Hodges, Dunwoody
- Mary Cahill-Roberts, Mableton
- Jay Parsons, Norcross
- Melissa Bondurant, Roswell
- Marcy Cornell, Stone Mountain
Will originally trained as an environmental biologist, but through a series of unforseen events, ended up as a physician. Will began keeping bees in 2006 to improve the pollination of his fruit trees and gardens, but the bees soon captured most of his attention. Since then, he has expanded his apiary to where he produces his own queens as well as a surplus of honey every year.
Will is committed to integrating research-proven methods of beekeeping with the common-sense knowledge of people who have been keeping bees for years. His interests include research, raising queens, pollination, honey production, and education of new beekeepers and middle school students. He offers an introductory beekeeping course each winter in cooperation with the UGA/Oconee County Extension Office and the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association, but is happy to answer questions at any time.
Introductory beekeeping classes and classroom programs.
Club talks on:
"Bee Stings and the Bee Sting Reaction," or
"Occupational Health in the Bee Yard" (How to keep the bee KEEPER healthy).
Local beekeeping consultations for a nominal fee.
P.O. Box 48558
Athens, GA 30604-8558
Keith Fielder can trace his roots and passion for beekeeping to his English, Scottish and German ancestors who first came to Georgia in the late 1700s. He is a sideline beekeeper with around 30 colonies which provide extracted, chunk and comb honey. He also produces specialty honeys like Sourwood, Cotton and Blackberry. The honey along with beeswax products are marketed locally by Keith’s wife Rose Anne. Beekeeping also allows Keith to indulge his hobby of wood working by making most his own wooden ware.
Keith has been an invited educational speaker and guest lecturer on apicultural topics for beekeeping organizations and community groups, not only across Georgia, but on a national and international level as well. He has lectured and presented workshops at the meetings of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, Eastern Apicultural Society, and most recently at the summer meeting of the Institute of Northern Irish Beekeepers. Keith serves on the staff of the annual Young Harris – UGA Beekeeping Institute in Young Harris, Georgia. He also enjoys working with various youth oriented groups such as Georgia 4-H, informing young people about the honeybee and beekeeping.
Keith is a certified Welsh Honey Judge and as such was extended the honor of being the first U.S. Welsh Honey Judge to serve as a Judges Steward at the Great Yorkshire Honey Show in Harrogate, England in 2008.
He has been sought out for comment on apicultural matters by media outlets such as the New York Times, Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Magazine and the British Broadcasting Company.
Keith has served the Georgia Beekeepers Association first as Secretary then as President during 2006-2007 and Past President 2007-2008.
He is employed by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension as the County Extension Coordinator for Putnam County.
Michael passed away December 2008.
My interest in beekeeping started about 15 years ago. I had no bees of my own; I was helping a friend with his. After a few years my curiosity grew and I wanted to learn more. I signed up for the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, the State Bee Club and a local club. I was reading about bees everyday at work during my lunch break. I then felt confident enough to sign up for the Master Beekeeper Program. I was in one of the first groups to receive the Master degree after four years. I now have 25 colonies, raise my own queens and build my own equipment. I sell out of honey every year, wishing I had more. What started as a curiosity has become my favorite hobby.
My wife is the 4-H Coordinator in Banks County and I have many opportunities to volunteer in our local school system by giving presentations and by helping with 4-H District Project Achievement (DPA) projects and presentations. I have a Power Point presentation on the hive equipment and accessories that I build and sell.
I build and sell white pine bee hive equipment and accessories to local people in the Northeast Georgia area. It has become a very successful sideline business.
I sell pure local honey to local people and businesses. In 2009, I will be partnering with Bob Binnie to sell nucs to local beekeepers.
Cindy Hodges is a native of Atlanta and a graduate of Emory University. She is involved in volunteer work with The Assistance League of Atlanta as well as with The Friends of the Dunwoody Library. She and her husband own and operate “Hodges Honey” apiaries located in Dunwoody and Decatur. She maintains the observation hive at Dunwoody Nature Center. Her passion is exploring the art of suburban beekeeping. Cindy has many awards from honey contests at the local, state, and international levels. She is a prize winning photographer and enjoys photographing bees at work. She has been interviewed on television, quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and has published articles in Bee Craft Magazine (UK) and Bee Culture Magazine (USA). Cindy is on the Board of Directors and Secretary of the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers’ Association and is also on the Board of Directors and secretary of the Georgia Beekeepers’ Association.
Cindy frequently speaks about bees and beekeeping at nature centers, garden clubs, schools, festivals, and other organizations and events. One of her more popular activities is bringing an observation hive which allows the group to closely view worker bees, the queen, and various stages of brood in a colony. She handles swarm removal and rescues and is pleased to sell local raw honey when available.
5100 North Peachtree Road
Dunwoody, Georgia 30338-4508
Insects have fascinated Noah since early childhood. When his mother brought home an observation hive in 2004, he was hooked, and a few years later he began running his own colonies in the backyard alongside his family. Over the years he has kept bees in numerous Atlanta (and occasionally rural) locales, including the Blue Heron Nature Preserve and Chastain Park, where he still maintains hives.
Noah enjoys sharing his (hopefully adequate) bee knowledge with whomever will listen—whether they be new beekeepers, old beekeepers, radio hosts, or people off the street. He also enjoys presentations to elementary school children as they often share his sense of humor, literary taste, coloring ability, and general maturity level. He’ll happily remove a swarm of reasonable elevation (one accessible with a normal ladder), though not during the school day*.
*Unless it’s like, really, REALLY big. Then we should talk.
Growing up in a house full of girls who were all terrified of bugs, Julia never imagined she would become a beekeeper. Things that flew and stung were to be completely avoided. But when she became a mother, Julia's two sons introduced her to the fascinating and wonderful world of insects. In 2004, inspired by the book, The Secret Life of Bees, she took a weekend course at the Campbell Folk School. Her yard, and her passion for bees, has been buzzing ever since. A sideline beekeeper, Julia keeps hives at her home, at community gardens in Atlanta, and in the north Georgia mountains. She has incorporated bees into her love of travel, visiting beekeepers in Israel, Mexico, and Peru.
Julia has found that the educational opportunities within the beekeeping community, both as a student and as a teacher, have greatly increased her enjoyment and continued fascination with all things Bee. She loves sharing this passion with her sons. Unable to have pets due to various allergies, the bees have become the family "pets". An active member of the Metro Atlanta Beekeeper’s Association, Julia serves on the board of directors, mentors new beekeepers, and facilitates educational opportunities for members in the community. She has won many awards for her honey products. When she’s not sweating in a bee suit, Julia is an artist, graphic designer and business entrepreneur with a successful line of decorative magnets for cars. She lives in Atlanta with her three handsome "boys"–one husband and two sons.
Julia performs swarm retrievals and leads beekeeping classes, classroom programs, and presentations to non‐beekeeping groups of children or adults. She is also available to speak to beekeeping clubs for a fee. Subjects include:
• Natural & Foundation‐less Beekeeping
• Lazy Beekeeping
• How To Give Engaging Bee Talks to Non‐beekeeping Groups
• Making Creamed Honey
4790 Huntley Dr., NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
Unlike most beekeepers who learned the craft from a close friend or family member, I had no exposure to honeybees until my 20s. While finishing my engineering degree at Virginia Tech, I needed some electives and while searching the course catalog, I found “Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping.” That course got me hooked and I have thoroughly enjoyed keeping bees ever since.
Along with my wife Jacqueline, we produce honey and many other hive products in the central Georgia area including bee pollen, beeswax candles, and lip balms. Our products can be found in several central Georgia retail outlets as well as local farm markets.
I am currently serving as president of the Heart of Georgia Beekeepers Association. I have appeared on Macon’s WMAZ-TV and have written beekeeping articles for the Macon Telegraph. I have also done numerous presentations for children’s groups and civic groups.
I am available to do honeybee presentations (with or without live bees). I also pick up hanging swarms and remove honeybees from structures.
304 Woodmont Court
Macon, GA 31216
It’s been a few years, but by all accounts Jay has been kept by the bees since April of 2007. This is not the first time bees have been in the family. His grandfather had bees, although it’s been about half a century from that point in time until now. Jay remembers on his way out to collect eggs from the chicken house and being cautioned by his grandfather not to go behind it because there were bees there. Well, curiosity being what it is, Jay, after returning with the eggs, just had to ask what those white boxes behind the chicken house were for. He missed out on a good education there as his grandfather died very young and never was able to pass on all that beekeeping information.
After two other Master’s degrees, one in Science and another in Education, this current Master’s in Beekeeping through the Beekeeping Institute seems like a fine blend of curricula. He plans on continuing in this field of bees and dreams well into retirement and feels that there is a whole lot more entomology to learn as well as practices to implement. Now that Jay has a few over twenty hives, he thinks it is time to expand on a number of themes. His honey house is nearly complete and Department of Agriculture approval just down the road, so certain commercial avenues may open up in the future. More hives are a definite as well.
Currently Jay is a member of the Board of Director’s of the Metro-Atlanta Beekeeper’s Association and participates in a number of community awareness public service activities. Jay has been active in the honey contest sector too and has a number of red, white, and blue ribbons not to mention a Best of Show ribbon also. He has won the ribbons for extracted honey in several color grades, wax block, section comb, creamed honey, and mead. Perhaps candles, sculptures and other related products will be next. His favorite however, is getting the bees to make wax and honey in the older section comb tradition using the square basswood boxes. He uses antique section comb cartons when participating in honey shows.
When not being taken to task by his Apis friends to maintain their little wooden square homes or repair the furniture therein, Jay teaches for the Cobb County School System. An early retirement always seems like a really fine idea when it comes up for discussion.
Jay is available for outside swarm removals, removals from inside houses, and select presentations with an observation hive. Jay sells honey and candles at some of his presentations and is also developing a fledgling website to promote products and honeybee awareness.
5694 Kimberly Lane
Norcross, Georgia 30071-3415
Jim attributes his love for honeybees to his grandfather who began teaching him the craft in 1979. Today, Jim operates about 40 hives, produces and sells honey, and is on call for swarm removal.
Jim is an advocate for honeybees and beekeeping. He hopes by speaking to young students about the importance of the honeybee he can inspire them be the next generation of beekeepers. Jim speaks at many of the local daycares and primary and elementary schools. He has spoken to several Boy Scout troops, 4-H clubs and Home School Associations. Jim also maintains an observation hive for the Griffin-Spalding County Schools Science and Enrichment Center.
He has made presentations at the Georgia Beekeepers Association annual meeting and the annual Young Harris College / UGA Beekeeping Institute in Young Harris, Georgia.
Jim is available to new beekeepers to answer questions on the various aspects of beekeeping, demonstrate how to work and maintain a hive, honey extraction, how to catch a swarm, and swarm removal from a structure.
Jim is employed at the University of Georgia – Griffin Campus. He is a Research Professional in the Entomology Department.
Presentations, Demonstrations, and Bee Removal. All services are evaluated individually to determine fee.
Philip Quinn is a side-line beekeeper from Atlanta, GA. He maintains multiple apiaries (bee farms) made up largely of feral bee colonies obtained by removing bees from homes and other buildings. He is a two-term past President and “2011 Beekeeper of the Year” of the Tara Beekeepers Association, and a current member of the Georgia Beekeepers Association. Philip works for the UGA Honey Bee Lab in Watkinsville, GA by managing the website, editing and contributing to professional publications, compiling and analyzing research data, and working in the apiaries on large-scale efforts such as moving bees, doing splits and setting up new research projects.
Philip enjoys making presentations to schools, beekeeping & gardening clubs, as well as other civic groups & environmental programs, on a wide range of topics regarding honey bees, beekeeping and pollination. He serves as one of the instructors at the annual Young Harris Beekeeping Institute (YHBI) and has been responsible for grading the certification exams since 2011. Over the years, he has also contributed to many beekeeping short courses, workshops and public demonstrations.
Philip does swarm collections, live bee removals from structures (including repairs), apiary consultations, mentoring, and public speaking. He offers private workshops for new beekeepers and exam preparation classes for the Georgia Master Beekeeper Program. He has an Atlanta-based company, Quinn Environmental.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-965-0BEE (678-965-0233).
As a barefooted 11 year old country boy, there was no greater excitement during the summer for Randy than helping his uncles rob their bee hives. While he really wasn’t much help to them, it made him feel important to hold the washtub as his uncles cut the honey comb from the frames. Since those early years, he always wanted to get into beekeeping. However, like all of us, other things kept getting in the way and he kept putting it off. After facing and surviving a life treating illness, the vision of items on his bucket list to complete in life suddenly cleared. Beekeeping was there waiting for him. His journey for knowledge of the honey bee began as he looked into their unbelievable world. He found the journey for knowledge of the honey bee is never ending.
Randy is a charter member of the Chattooga County Beekeepers Association. He is a past club president of the Northwest GA Beekeepers Association. He currently serves as program chairman for the TN Valley Beekeepers Association. He is a member of the GA Beekeepers Association, Alabama Beekeepers Association, and the TN Beekeepers Association.
Randy works for his two Honey’s (Carolyn and his bees). Together, they enjoy harvesting honey, helping other beekeepers, and attending state educational sessions. He has taught continuing education courses on Beekeeping at a local college. In addition, he does honey bee education programs for clubs, schools, and other organizations.
Randy is available to catch swarms, and mentor new beekeepers on removing swarms from structures. He is also available to speak on various honey bee subjects. He is available to mentor clubs on how to run successful “Introduction to Beekeeping Seminars”.
152 Bluebird Lane
Ringgold, GA 30736
Cell – 423-304-2714
Mary's interest in beekeeping stemmed from gardening, specifically blueberries. She planted blueberry bushes and waited. The first year there was a couple of cups of blueberries. In the winter of 2007, she read an article online about having honeybees in your backyard to help your garden. That is all it took! She installed her first hives in the backyard April, 22, 2008. Even that late in the year, she picked several quarts of blueberries. She attended the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute and started her "education" of the honeybee, becoming a Master Beekeeper. She also has been a Welsh Honey Judge for 4 years. She has spent the past five years in the practice and study of the honeybee. She is active as a mentor and educator in the western Atlanta metro area. She maintains hives at the community garden and believes in as natural approach as possible. By trade she is a pediatric nurse practitioner, so bringing the story of the honeybee to kids has been a major goal for her. She has given various talks at schools and participated in her club's kids course.
Mary jumped on board the Certified Naturally Grown bandwagon after attending the EAS meeting held in Rhode Island. Certified Naturally Grown or CNG is a grass roots effort started for small farmers and beekeepers.
This is a way for beekeepers to tell the public that they maintain an "clean home for the honeybee, and do not put any chemicals in the hives or foods given to the bees". Mary started Swarm Chasers Apiaries several years ago in response to the abundant swarming season of 2011. Mary maintains her apiary as a CNG apiary and has hives at a local CNG farm. She also has hives at the local organic community garden, where she is the Master Beekeeper in charge.
She is a member of various organizations and has worked at the local and state level to further advance the education of the public about the honeybee. Mary gives talks to local bee clubs and area organizations. She runs the mentor program and hive inspection class through her local club as well as holding various offices. She believes that we can make a difference by educating the public about honeybees, as well as, make a difference for the honey bees one hive at a time...
Paul was born and raised is Seattle, WN, in 1942. He joined the U.S. Naval Air Reserve in Seattle in 1958 and became and Aviation Electronics Technician. He served two years aboard the USS Pine Island (AV-12) and became a ham radio operator K7YSU. P.D. toured the Far East and earned his Shellback Status traveling to the Galapagos Islands. Paul’s current call is N4CUA and he is active in the Athens Radio Club, which emphasizes public service. His favorite activity is working with the American Red Cross (ARC) during UGA football games. Paul is, also, a regular blood donor for the local ARC. He has served over 32 years.
Paul earned an MS in Ecology (Biology) in 1973 from the University of Minnesota. Paul was hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Ely, MN., May 1971. He worked on the Shagawa Lake Project that demonstrated the efficacy of removing phosphorus from municipal sewage to control eutrophication of lakes. Subsequently, phosphorus could no longer be used to build detergents.
He worked 35 years as a Research Aquatic Biologist. In 1976, he was transferred to Corvallis, OR, and, in 1979, to Athens, GA, retiring in 2005. Paul and his wife, Albie, bought a home with a developed garden, many fruit trees and blueberries. The previous owner kept honeybees for pollination, and we liked their Tulip poplar honey. Paul decided to take an extension course on beekeeping at UGA in the fall of 1979. He has been keeping honeybees, ever since.
In 1995, Paul was one of the founding members of the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Assn. He served as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice-Chairman and Chairman. Smith regularly attends the UGA Beekeeping Institute (BKI) held yearly at the Young Harris College to keep current with management practices. The Institute began in 1991, is International in scope, and features a comprehensive Honey Show. There are 14 different categories for folks to compete, from art, to candles making, to extracted honey, mead making and photography. Paul has won "Best in Show" twice, for extracted honey, and, twice, won the "Black Jar" award for best tasting honey. He has also won blue ribbons for chunk honey and beeswax candles. At the 2012 BKI, Smith was awarded the official title of "Georgia Master Beekeeper". Paul & Albie have two children (all working is health care) and four grandchildren.
Paul's public service interests are swarm removal and mentoring newbie's, consulting about removing bees fom structures, presenting programs on the health benefits of hive productsand selling hive products.
305 Crestwood Drive
Athens, GA 30605
Joe Stephens, Virginia’s father is her model for beekeeping. Beekeeping was a family hobby for many years and in 1964 Virginia received her first beehive. From then forward she was hooked on keeping bees. Virginia was the first 4-H winner in Tennessee Beekeeping and was the 1975 Tennessee State Honey Queen.
Today she and her husband Carl are full time commercial beekeepers and queen breeders in North Georgia. Their beekeeping operation consists of over 350 production colonies and a queen yard. They specialize in raising Russian Queens. Virginia became the first Certified Welsh Honey Judge in the United States. She has competed throughout the United States and in Europe in honey show and has won Best in Show in over 20 shows. In 2005 Virginia and her husband attended the Apimondia (World Beekeeping Federation) and entered the first ever World Honey Show. With over 21 countries participating, and 400 individual entries, Virginia’s Sourwood Honey won the top Honor of BEST HONEY IN THE WORLD. This year at the American Beekeeping Federation Honey Show, Virginia again won Best in Show for the 3rd time.
Virginia is a greatly sought after speaker, speaking to beekeeping clubs, agriculture organizations and civic clubs throughout the US. She has worked with beekeepers in almost every state and in the Caribbean. She also writes about the importance of beekeeping in agriculture.
Currently she is a member of the American Beekeeping Federation Board of Directors, the Georgia Farm Bureau Honeybee Advisory Committee, Treasurer of the Georgia Beekeepers Assoc., a charter member of the Russian Queen Breeders Association and past member of the National Honey Board Nominations Committee.
1993 Georgia Beekeeper of the Year, 2002 North Georgia Farm Bureau, Farm Woman of the Year, Tennessee Beekeepers Assoc. Life Time Member and Past President of the Georgia Beekeepers Association and Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Assoc.
Teaching Children about Bees. Currently Virginia speaks to over 2,000 children each year about the importance of beekeeping and the roll of beekeepers. Workshops on Conservation and Beekeeping (Beekeepers have always been Green); Marketing Outside the Beehive; Everything You Wanted to Know about Beeswax (Candles, Ornaments, Painting and Cooking); Preparing Honey to Show and Small Operation Queen Breeding.
349 Gastley Road
Clarkesville, GA 30523
Linda Tillman has been interested in beekeeping since the 70s when she checked out all the books she could find in the Nashville library on how to have bees in your backyard. With raising children, finishing graduate school, and starting a career along the way, she didn’t actually begin keeping bees until 2006.
Linda now has hives at her home and maintains hives at two community gardens. To keep records of her beekeeping experiences, Linda started an Internet blog in April 2006 when she installed her first nucs (www.beekeeperlinda.com). She writes about her beekeeping learning experiences, her mistakes and her successes. On her blog she demonstrates her passion for natural beekeeping, using no poisons and foundationless frames, among other natural beekeeping practices. She has made and posted videos on basic beekeeping skills such as inspecting a hive, harvesting honey without an extractor, using a simple solar wax melter, and other topics. She posts frequently on her blog which is visited by people from all over the world, gets about 750 visits a day in busy season, and has almost 1000 subscribers.
Linda has been interviewed for Internet podcasts and on Atlanta radio programs. She has given talks
and workshops big and small, from local garden clubs, scout troops, and school groups in the Atlanta
area to the Southeast Organic Beekeepers Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. One of her favorite
activities is mentoring new beekeepers. As a Director on the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association
Board, one way in which Linda mentors others is through working with new beekeepers in Metro’s
hands-on hive inspection program.
Having won many ribbons at honey shows, Linda gives talks to beekeepers on preparing honey for show, harvesting honey, as well as pouring wax blocks. Always interested in new ways to employ products of the hive, Linda has made lip balm, lotion, lotion bars, and candles with her beeswax and honey.
When she is not enjoying her sideline interest in beekeeping, Linda has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology
from Vanderbilt University and is in private practice in midtown Atlanta. She also teaches in Emory’s
Department of Rehabilitative Medicine where she trains doctoral students in physical therapy to
communicate well with their patients.
Swarm removal (if it doesn’t require a tall ladder!)
Talks on bees and beekeeping for garden clubs, school groups, camps, scout troops, community organizations, eco-fairs, science fairs, etc.
Talks to beekeeping groups on such topics as:
Harvesting honey without an extractor
• Making and using a solar wax melter
• Making your own lip balm and lotion
• Preparing honey and wax for entering a show
• Doing a basic hive inspection
843 Kings Ct. NE
Atlanta, GA 30306