We will probably look back at 2020 as one of the strangest years anyone can remember. It affected all our lives – for some more profoundly than for others.
As the world started to wake up to the emerging Covid pandemic, Association activities in the first couple of months of 2020 proceeded as usual with a demonstration and a talk. We held a normal AGM, but national lockdown restrictions were imposed shortly thereafter and the annual beginners’ course was suspended half way through. Meetings for the foreseeable future were reluctantly cancelled. The Apiary and its bees were maintained, but member visits were not possible.
Visits to our own apiaries were permitted under animal husbandry provisions during lockdown, so actual beekeeping of course carried on. Spring and early summer was generally warm and dry so good for colony expansion and queen rearing. Summer and autumn were poorer. A few beginners started this year, and much advice was provided using email, messaging and the Association Facebook group.
As lockdown restrictions eased in late summer, we were able to organise a ‘winter preparations’ demonstration in late August by limiting numbers and splitting the intended single event into four small, separate sessions with suitable social distancing.
By the autumn it was apparent that Covid-related restrictions would continue for many months to come, so the Association moved firmly into the world of online meetings and events, starting with virtual Committee meetings, moving on to completing the beginners’ course online and holding a final meeting of the year – Gavin Ramsay talking about the Scottish Native Honey Bee Society – as a ‘Zoom’ webinar. Plans for at least the first half of 2021, including the AGM and the course, are now based on online delivery.
One benefit of Covid-restrictions is that many local Associations and national bodies have organised online talks and invited participation beyond their membership. It’s been possible to ‘attend’ many more talks than usual, and from the convenience of our homes. The Association was already adopting online tools such as Eventbrite, but there is now no going back, and whilst the social and teaching benefits of physically meeting must not and will not be overlooked, ‘online’ will be a bigger part of the Association’s future.
[Header photo: Winter preparation demonstration with social distancing]