Learn about apprenticeships, volunteer opportunities, and how to help us make an impact in service of the honeybee
What Can You Do?
Our mission of restoring the health and vitality of the honeybee has many layers. The honeybees are of course at the center of everything we do, and it is through our experiences with the bees that we bring forth our educational programs, research, volunteer opportunities, retreats, internships, plant sales, products, essentially every offering is deeply rooted in our relationship with the bees. And, by serving the bees, we also serve humanity. The honeybee sheds light on that which is asking for change in our cultures and societies if we are to continue to live and thrive on this planet earth. As Gunther Hauk has pointed out, “More than we can imagine depends on our ability to turn the crisis into an opportunity for change.”
Restoring health and vitality to our world is not only for beekeepers. Everyone has something to offer toward this mission and getting involved in our work here at the Sanctuary can take many forms.
For anyone wanting to help us make an impact, we invite you to:
- Learn more about the honeybees by visiting us during Open Days
- Share our work with your friends and colleagues through website and social media
- Volunteer in our flower or vegetable gardens by filling out our intake form below!
- Schedule a private sanctuary tour or interactive educational visit for your group (school group, book club, garden club, employee appreciation day)
- Establish pollinator forage anywhere you have space, whether in flower pots or flower beds, in your vegetable garden, or in fallow fields between other plantings (we offer pollinator plants for sale during the Spring and Summer)
- Schedule a donation-based consultation with our beekeeper or farmer for help expanding your beekeeping, gardening, or teaching related to pollinators and plants
- Discontinue the use of pesticides and herbicides
- Let your dandelions, clover, and other important wildflowers bloom
- Share our locally made, sustainable bee products with your friends
- Heighten your consumer awareness around products such as royal jelly, pollen, and honey
- Help others learn about sustainable beekeeping by donating to our scholarship program
- Support our work by donating to Spikenard Farm
- Consider becoming a beekeeper!
For those who are new to our beekeeping methods:
- Register for our educational programs which are offered online and in-person, with courses for beginners and beyond
- Consider applying for our immersive 4-month apprenticeship to get hands-on experience within our sanctuary and farm setting
- Read our newest beekeeping book by Alex Tuchman, A Lively Hive, to learn all the basics of sustainable beekeeping
We thank you in advance for your investment in the future of the earth and our life with the bees!
Apprenticeships for 2022 have now been filled. We will open the application process in September for the 2023 season.
The Spikenard Apprenticeship is an experience-based opportunity to learn with the bees at our Honeybee Sanctuary. We are located on 41 acres in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with 25-40 bee hives, many flower gardens, a vegetable patch, fields of blooming cover crops, orchard, woods, pastures and a little river.
The daily work of the Farm Manager and Apprentices is to tend to the farm. The farm work is very diverse and ranges from daily chores to long days implementing larger projects to general upkeep of planting, weeding and harvesting. The tasks for tending the honeybees are woven throughout the apprenticeship with time spent observing each hive, opening hives for health checks, catching and hiving swarms, a weekly mite count, and more.
In addition to the work on the land and with the bees, apprentices support and participate in the workshops held at the sanctuary throughout the summer. We also have a weekly meeting to dive deeper into the honeybee and insect realm of life, talk about beekeeping practices and have experiences with hive observation, meditation, and artistic work.
We work Monday-Friday 8-5 with a long lunch break, on the weekends we take turns being responsible for chores such as watering, opening and closing greenhouses and feeding the goats. Some weekends we have workshops and events at the farm that apprentices are expected to participate in.
The ideal apprentice has a strong work ethic, enjoys working outside every day, has a deep interest in the honeybees, an openness for exploring the spiritual aspects of life and nature, enthusiasm for community living and excitement for working closely with others as part of a team.
Our apprenticeships are now offered as two distinct annual cohorts:
In exchange for your hard work and dedication we offer:
- all the educational opportunities that are in session during the months of your apprenticeship
- very good housing adjacent to the farm
- a bag of vegetables from the garden each week
- A total stipend of $595 for the 4-month apprenticeship
Volunteer Opportunities at Spikenard Farm are scheduled on an individual basis directly with the Farm Manager. Volunteers will plug right into the daily work of the farm with the team of apprentices and Farm Manager. Tasks range from planting, weeding, harvesting, to beekeeping, compost building etc. Please come prepared with your own lunch, water bottle, hat, closed toed shoes and clothes that you can work in and get dirty! A full day experience (8am – 5pm) or half day (either 8-12 or 1:30-5) are available.
Please fill out volunteer intake form below. We will respond shortly with deep care and consideration:
*Please take special care in filling out this form in its entirety. You will be unable to save your information if you cannot complete the application in one sitting. We recommend writing your answers in an off-line document first. If you have any questions or needs during this process, please reach out to us. We look forward to meeting you!
Your heartfelt love for nature and the honeybees can find meaningful expression by contributing to Spikenard Farm. If you are inspired to help, PLEASE DONATE.
You may also write a check and mail it to:
Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary
401 Hideaway Lane SE
Floyd, VA 24091
All donations are fully tax deductible.
We thank you in advance for your investment in the future of the earth and our life with the bees.