An announcement about the future of the Young Harris Institute

May 2022 was an occasion for the 30th anniversary of the annual Young Harris College / University of Georgia Beekeeping Institute. In 1992 its co-founders Keith Delaplane, Paul Arnold, and Robert Brewer launched their vision of a training event where beekeepers at all levels could sharpen their skills and knowledge with a multi-day program of lectures and workshops in a setting of sublime natural beauty. In time, the Institute became a fertile nursery for specialty offerings such as the Georgia Master Beekeeper, Welsh Honey Judge, and Georgia-certified honey bee remover programs. Along the way, the organizers introduced students to “the best bee scientists in the English-speaking world” and created quality time for good food, live music, fun and fellowship.

So, with a lump in our throat, we announce that we are shutting down the Young Harris Institute. This decision is driven by short-term exigencies – mounting cost overruns and logistical difficulties, but also by structural problems such as our non-centralized location, a proliferation of alternative training opportunities available to beekeepers, and our partial redundancy with services provided by the Georgia Beekeepers Association.

We temper our disappointment with the good news that the Georgia Master Beekeeper and Welsh Honey Judge trainings will be rehomed into GBA’s annual schedule of conferences, beginning in fall 2023. We believe that the Georgia Beekeepers Association is the appropriate home for these services and will ensure their rigor and availability for future generations. We honor the goodwill and hard work of armies of volunteers who made the Institute possible over its 30-year tenure, and we are humbled at the legions of enthusiastic students, many of whom considered Young Harris a highlight of their year. We know that the good outcomes of the Institute will ripple across Georgia and the region for years to come.

Thanks to all of you who participated in this story. It was a good ride, and the future remains bright for beekeeping across Georgia and the Southeast.

Keith Delaplane, Paul Arnold, Jennifer Berry

16 December 2022

All of the Young Harris Institute participants in front of a building.