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|Here is a brief introduction to our organizational structure and team members. Like worker bees, we do not simply carry one task, but each of us strives to do all that we can in honor of the whole, within our unique and varied strengths. Our staff is called upon by the needs of our times to strive forth; to grow, learn, adapt, and change with the seasons and organizational needs. We endeavor to build a team that works closely together with commitment, respect, and dignity. Flexible cross-pollination between the office and the farm is the ‘propolis’ that holds us together, and we are so thankful to have gifted individuals on both sides—the blessing that makes our organization thrive!|
Executive Director & Founder
As Executive Director, Gunther serves in a variety of roles, i.e., beekeeper, teacher, biodynamic farmer, visionary, writer, public speaker, fundraiser, and more. His overall responsibility is to ensure that all organizational activities are effective and in alignment with Spikenard Farm’s mission of serving as a “model” honeybee sanctuary for the teaching and outreach of sustainable and biodynamic beekeeping practices.Gunther brings four decades of experience as a biodynamic beekeeper, gardener, and farmer.
In 1996 he co-founded the Pfeiffer Center – one of the first biodynamic training programs in the US. And since that time he has been invited to teach around the world. His book Toward Saving the Honeybee was first published in 2002. And in 2006, Gunther and his wife, Vivian, founded Spikenard Farm. His work was featured in two full-length documentary films about the honeybee crisis – “Queen of the Sun” (2010) and “Vanishing of the Bees” (2009), and he also produced his own educational film “Hour of Decision” (2015).
Managing Director & Caretaker
Vivian carries a wide variety of responsibilities in her role as Managing Director. In addition to directing all administrative and fiscal operations, she manages the development and production of sale products, oversees construction projects, coordinates communication activities, mentors the interns, and helps to teach, design, and implement educational activities. Vivian is also the Caretaker/Beekeeper at the Honeybee Sanctuary, whose artistic skills have infused order and beauty into the structure and development of the sanctuary. Born in Chile, Vivian brings strong organizational talent and a broad range of experience as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, anthroposophical therapist, photographer, gardener, and beekeeper.
Program Director & Farm Manager
As Program Director, Alex works with team members to plan and implement all educational workshops and courses where he serves as a teacher. His responsibilities also include social and programmatic communications as well as the oversight of interns, volunteer, and visitor activities. In addition, Alex serves as Farm Manager and Beekeeper. Alex came to Spikenard Farm in March of 2014 after working 3 years as the Manager of the Student Farm at Loyola University Chicago. He has over eight years of beekeeping and farming experience along with educational training from the Biodynamic Association, the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and the Angelic Organics Learning Center.
Jyles is a recent graduate of the four-year Waldorf Teacher Training at Summerfield Waldorf School in Santa Rosa California, and he volunteered at the Woodland Star Charter Waldorf School during that time. In April, Jyles completed his first year of the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program at the Kimberton Camphill Dairy. He loves caring for and healing the earth, working with Biodynamic principles and animals, and educating and inspiring others. At the Honeybee Sanctuary, he is hoping to deepen his knowledge of healing the earth and caring for bees, while learning to help others to gain that knowledge too.
Helena hails from NE Ohio where she grew up spending most of her time outdoors on her grandparents’ farm. She gardened alongside her parents throughout her youth as a Waldorf homeschooler, later going on to complete the LifeWays North America early childhood training. She has been tending both plants and children for the past few years. Wherever Helena goes she brings with her a deep love for nature and simplicity as well as a an enjoyment of hard work. During her time at Spikenard, she looks forward to deepening her knowledge of bees and gardening in hopes to share her knowledge and love for nature with children in the future.
Outreach & Development
Jody came to Spikenard with a background in programming and software training. She is an avid gardener, herbalist and basket weaver with an abiding love of nature. After taking classes at Spikenard, she and her husband are joyfully incorporating honeybees on their small farm. As Outreach & Development, Jody coordinates advertising, grants and other technical aspects of running the Sanctuary office.
Susan came to us with over 30 years of accounting and business management experience having worked in both large and small local business. She has also lived and worked on her family farm in Floyd all her life and has a deep appreciation for the land and all the creatures on it. In her role as office assistant, Susan is attending to the important tasks in the office, including the administrative and bookkeeping needs of the organization.
Elaine has been working with Spikenard since 2012, contributing her beautiful artistic talent to our newsletters, promotions, and outreach materials. She truly shares with us the love for nature, the honeybees, and all creatures of this earth. Elaine has been an artist all her life, and received her degree in graphic design in Portland, Oregon over 15 years ago.
Herbalist & Salve Maker
Courtney has worked with us since we moved to Floyd in many creative and varied roles, including designing T-shirts, website work, outreach and development, communications, and more. After founding Blume Botanicals in 2015, she has seamlessly transitioned into the role of our premium salve-maker, using beautiful products from the bees and herbal infusions to produce the wonderful salves that are now on sale in the yurt on our website.
Certified Public Accountant
Susan assists with the preparation of financial statements and ensures compliance with state and federal tax reporting requirements. She also provides tax and accounting advisory services. As a Certified Public Accountant in North Carolina and Virginia, she represents over 14 years experience with both the public and private accounting sectors.
|Pamela Sophiajohn, CFRE
Grants & Campaign Consultant
Serving as a part-time consultant, Pamela works with us to build and maintain foundation and corporate relations, and to help win support for the construction of a Bee Barn (a multi-purpose building) at the sanctuary.