Dordt College News

Prof. Bajema does his part to boost bee population

May 24, 2013

Most classes at Dordt College take place in a classroom filled with college students.

Then there is Beginning Beekeeping, a course taught by Agriculture Professor Duane Bajema.

Nine years ago, persistent students asked Dr. Bajema to share his 35 years of beekeeping knowledge. Now, 21 members of the surrounding community, equally persistent, approached Bajema with the same request. This time, though, only one class member is a student at Dordt. The others travel up to 40 miles to attend Bajema’s weekly evening class at the Agriculture Stewardship Center, Dordt’s farm.

Ron Rynders, a member of the class who also took Bajema’s first beekeeping class, finds that studying God’s creation and participating in stewardship brings excitement as he and others marvel over creation. Adri Smit, who attends the course with her husband, Ron, appreciates the community that the class develops. Relationships grow as classmates learn from Bajema and develop a shared passion for bees.

Though Beginning Beekeeping adds to Bajema’s teaching load, his students’ commitment to the course makes it enjoyable. No one gets credit; they are there because they want to learn about beekeeping. Each member kept at least one hive as the weather warmed in late spring and learned about the pollination process as well as how to care for bees and use their honey. Class members raise bees for honey, for beeswax, and for pollination. Personally, Bajema enjoys beekeeping as a hobby that provides him with an annual supply of honey.

Bajema’s love for beekeeping relates to his Christian faith. He finds pleasure in interacting and caring for a specific part of creation and finds that he is more aware of nature around him as he considers how bees will interact and pollenate. And the more Bajema learns about bees, the more he is humbled in his learning. The class not only teaches the skill of beekeeping but also opens eyes to see the world from a different perspective.

Rynders agrees; he sees a beehive as an example of an ideal community, with all members serving and working together. Rynders says, “Bees shame us by their obedience to God’s great word of life.”


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