Iowa Honey Queen
On a frigid morning in February, thirty some honeybee enthusiasts, some on their second year, packed into a North Iowa Area Community College classroom to learn from one of the most vivacious and passionate beekeepers in Iowa. At the head of this class? None other than Pat Ennis.
At the head of this class? None other than Pat Ennis.
It is obvious to all that Pat Ennis not only likes his job, but that he loves it and lives it every day, and the people are absolutely captivated by him. Held bright and early on each Saturday morning, people rush to get a good seat, as seating quickly turns into standing room only. Energetically and enthusiastically, he conducts an interactive class, geared toward the ‘newbee’, while also skillfully including more advanced course work for the experienced beekeeper.
Off to the side, beaming proudly, one can find Pat’s sweet, supportive wife, Peggy Ennis. “The brains of the operation,” as Pat would say; Peggy, though she doesn’t personally help teach the class, has a very active role in the classroom. Her addition to the class is manifested in the clever, informative decoration around the room, fabulous cooking, and helpful personality.
Whether she’s passing around photos or helping people with door prizes, it is clear that Peggy is an irreplaceable asset to the class.
Pat Ennis and 2012 Iowa Honey Queen Renae Beard
Pat, fully capable of teaching the class himself, happily and generously shares the spotlight with a variety of different beekeepers during the class. Eli, Dale, and Jim shared their insight, offering helpful perspectives and friendly responses. Additionally, Nathan, an active 4-H member and honeybee advocate, also added to the class’s environment by conducting a honey experiment. He prepared two different types of bars, one with honey and one without, to prove the baking benefits of honey by having class members judge the bars on their taste, appearance, and flavor. And not only did Pat include these beekeepers in the instruction of the class, but also me, the Iowa Honey Queen, a novice beekeeper myself, having only five years of experience.
My mother, Jackie, and I, had a fabulous time. The people in the class were fantastic and welcoming, chatting with me during breaks and making me feel welcome. I had the opportunity to give a presentation about the Bee Scholar Youth Mentor Program and my experiences through it, and also about becoming the Iowa Honey Queen and the adventures I’ve had thus far.
If you’re ever in the Mason City neighborhood, driving by NIACC, drop by and catch Pat and Peggy Ennis’ excellent bee class – it’s an opportunity you won’t want to pass up!
I hope you’re having a delightful month, Iowa Beekeepers! Again, please do not hesitate to contact the Queen Chair, Connie Bronnenberg to schedule me into one of your events. If there was any way I could come and “bee” helpful, I’d love to do so! I hope to see you around the state! Please keep me in mind.
Bee Happy and Stay Safe!
Renae M. Beard
2012 Iowa Honey Queen