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Pierce County Beekeeping Association Board Meeting Minutes

Monday 2/27/24

Meeting Time: 6:42 pm to 8:44 pm


Those in attendance include: Mary Dempsey, Katie Marler, Jillian Selcer, Nathan Chambers, Kathleen Clerc

Attending via Zoom: Mary Kline, Fawn Casey


~ Meeting opened at 6:42 pm by Nathan Chambers, seconded by Mary Dempsey


Pollinator Garden Update:

Mary Kline opened the meeting with an overall update regarding the progress on the Pollinator Garden project. Her assessment is the 2 plots made available from WSU for use are both unusable at this time in their current state. One plot is in designated Wetlands so for county/city code reasons is unable to be disturbed. The second area has no top soil and would need to be built up from scratch before it could be planted out. Overall the estimated time required to start the second plot would be 150 man hours with an upkeep of 30-40 hours a month for the first year, 20-30 hours a month thereafter. With the amount of work needed the board considers this a non-viable project and will take it to a final vote for the club on May 4th. The opinion of the board and Mary Kline is the resources taken from the club would negatively impact all other volunteer based projects for the upcoming year. 


In brainstorming ideas to keep the Pollinator Garden project alive it was suggested meeting with the Master Gardner’s Association to pitch the idea to their club with the incentive that interested members from PCBA could volunteer to help. The Master Gardener’s Association also has plots on the opposite campus that have better access and are open all hours.   


WSU Executive Director Meeting:

Kathleen and Mary had a meeting with the executive director of the WSU extension center this past month. The Director and staff at the extension center highly value our club and see it as a very positive group to host. Currently WSU is negotiating our yearly lease and will likely raise our monthly rental fees keeping in line with inflation and their budgetary needs. The Director is very excited about the Pollinator garden project which is another good reason to try and partner with the Master Gardeners to keep the project moving forward.


Master Gardeners Plant Sale:

Mary Kline has been hard at work getting native plant species starts going since Fall of 2023 for the Plant Sale. This offers a great fundraising opportunity for the club and is well attended by the public every year. Staffing for the Plant Sale will require 3 shifts per day with 2 people working the booth.The Master Gardener’s keep 30% of the revenue from all sales as compensation for the booth rental. PCBA also has the option of selling honey at the Plant Sale. We are considering offering 50 jars of honey along with the plants for sale. We will have tax exemption forms for donations available at the next club meeting for anyone who is interested in donating to the Plant Sale. 


Honey Sales:

The club can buy honey in bulk to sell at events or online from Harvard farms. Currently we can sell 1lbs. of honey for $18/jar. The net cost to buy honey, jars, labels is $6.50. This offers a great opportunity to raise money for the club. We are looking into selling honey through the website and events this year.  



Mary Dempsey and Fawn Casey have been hard at work putting together the projected 2024 budget. We have a lot of great initiatives on the horizon for the club this year! Major talking points were: clean up and upgrade of the honey house, spring fair/King Co. Fair/Puyallup Fair, ongoing classes, workshops, teaching apiary, queen rearing apiary, and future club equipment needs/wants. Overall our goal is to run a balanced budget and currently we are showing a projected deficit of around $2,500. The board plans to bring to a vote raising the membership rate to $50/year (from the current $30/year). Other fundraising ideas included renting the honey house to the public for 2x the members rate ($50/session), selling honey online, hosting Beekeeper in a day classes 4x/year, getting our WIC organization application approved for entry into the Tacoma Farmers Market, and researching and pursuing federal and state grants. 


Club Member Benefits:

Currently PCBK members get special rates/access to the honey house, free workshops, and inexpensive bulk sugar. There was discussion about starting a Beekeepers Co-Op utilizing our pool of resources to buy materials in bulk for discounted rates. This could include chemical treatments for hive maintenance (apiguard, etc), woodenware, tools, and honey jars.



Through the winter we lost 2 of 8 hives. The plan for the spring is to split the existing 6 hives to net 12 hives. Of those 8 will be dedicated to the teaching Apiary, 1-2 will potentially go towards the Queen rearing Apiary, and 2-3 will be used for honey production elsewhere on the property (TBD). Upcoming projects for the Apiary include:

  • Installing new ground cover fabric

  • Inventorying all existing equipment/woodenware

  • Installing swarm traps 

  • Buying or building new queen boxes

  • Feeding the bees bananas

We also need to purchase Apriguard, make or buy pollen patties, sponges, a battery for the O.A. wand, Hive boxes, garden tools, bricks for hive stands, and potentially more bees (nucs). 


Wish list:

The board discussed future needs/wants for the club which included (4) new presentation laptops, a battery powered OA wand, and video equipment for recording and posting classes and presentations online. 


Beekeeper Scholarship:

The board discussed restarting the beekeeper scholarship for 2025. We are planning on collecting submissions or applications in Q3/Q4 2024 for judging and award. The club would give a free membership, beginner’s class, and hive/nuc to the lucky winner. 


Honey House:

Currently a work party is planned to paint and spruce up the honey house. WSU has given us a bid for $1500 to upgrade the heating and lighting which the board will bring to a vote of the club for approval. The club purchased an uncapper to add to the available equipment.


Host HIve program:

Kathleen is working on collecting names/addresses of interested hive hosts (people with property who are interested in having hives) and connecting them with interested, experienced beekeepers who want to manage a remote apiary. This will be a service provided by the club connecting hosts with beekeepers and the club will not be providing any oversight or management of the remote apiaries. The list will be organized regionally and hosts will be provided the name(s) of potential beekeepers in their area. It will be up to the host to make initial contact and any agreement entered into between host and beekeeper is entirely private.  


Silent Auction:

The club is collecting donations for the upcoming silent auction. We will have tax write off slips at the next meeting to pass to anyone donating. 


Meeting adjourned at 8:44pm.

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