The Club’s November meeting will be on Wednesday, November 8th at 7pm at the Brookside Nature Center, 1400 Glenallen Avenue, Silver Spring MD. This is our 2nd annual honey tasting and annual business meeting. It will include a brief report on 2017 activities and finances, the election of Board members, and the popular honey tasting.

All interested persons are invited to attend, and all members are invited to participate in the Honey Tasting (instructions at the end of this email), show their support by thanking the outgoing Board members, and voting for 2018 Board members. Candidates are running unopposed, HOWEVER, members are welcome to nominate themselves or another member at the meeting. (We are NOT limited to five Directors.)

Outgoing Board members: Jim Fraser (Vice President), Pal Erickson (Treasurer), and Frank McCowan (Director)

Candidates for 2018


Leon Vandenberg, President (continuing): It has been approximately 6 years since I took the MCBA short course. I got into beekeeping as I was looking for some pollination in my garden. I am a member of Seedsavers, a group of gardeners who grow heirloom vegetables and save the seeds for others to grow. Over the course of the 6 years, I have gravitated to more beekeeping and not as much gardening, though I still grow all of my plants from seeds and I buy almost no plants from nurseries. Currently, I have approximately 30 hives scattered throughout Montgomery and Howard Counties. I have been a member of MCBA ever since taking the short course, and its president since 2016.

Pam Hepp, Vice President (new): I became a beekeeper in 2013 - took the short course and got my package of bees. I first got interested in bees while in Greece, years ago. I was curious about the numbered boxes that line the roadways. Failing tomatoes and teaching high school biology catalyzed me to jump in and actually get bees. My "bee cred" grows each year - I've split hives, caught a swarm, lost a hive, made boxes, and dealt with wax moth. I extract delicious honey and make terrible mead. I like experimenting with my bees - making them ventilation/feeding boxes, feeding them amino acids. I took over community outreach coordination for the Club two years ago.  I enjoy sharing the amazing habits, actions and abilities of the bees. When I am not beekeeping, I am a triathlete - I can be found in the pool, cycling the countryside or running the roads. My days are spent on the campus of NIH, administratively supporting the clinical trials of the National Eye Institute. I have three grown sons. When I grow up, I'd like to be a farmer, growing heirloom tomatoes, collecting fresh eggs, herding goats and, of course, keeping bees.

Stefanie Ottenstein, Treasurer (new): Having taken the short course in 2017, I am currently working on gathering my beekeeping supplies so I can get my first batch of bees next Spring. Beekeeping has been a lifelong dream of mine. When I'm not thinking about bees, you can find me hiking with my baby, husband or dogs. For my day job, I am a CPA and work for an accounting firm.

Maureen Jais-Mick, Secretary (continuing): I took the short course in 2013 and have been keeping from two to five hives in my backyard ever since. In 2016, I completed an 18-month internship with the Sustainable Honeybee Program in Loudoun County. I have been the Club Secretary since 2016. I retired from working in mental health last December, and now volunteer at Bethesda Cares, The Smithsonian (American Indian Museum), National Park Service (Cedar Hill) and in the archives of my former employer, Saint Elizabeths Hospital.  My hobby is large format photography and exploring with my yellow lab Ike (who is also a MCBA member – check his directory listing).



Rachmat Hidajat (new): I have been keeping bees since 2011, ranging from 2 colonies to 2 dozen. Besides keeping bees, I am trying to keep up with my yard, which is always messy. I like to keep unusual animals/plants. I consider bees as exotic pets, since none of the people I know at work, at school, clubs, etc., keep bees, except only those in the bee clubs. When I have room and time at home, I like also to keep carnivorous plants and tillandsia. Since the last season, I have been experimenting with aquaponics, another method of growing vegetables in an unusual way.  Indoors, I have been maintaining aquascaping/planted aquarium, and just recently starting keeping (and hopefully breeding) bee shrimps. I have some interest in computer technology, too.

Frank Linton (new): Frank Linton, Ed.D, a retired artificial intelligence engineer, has kept honey bees since 2005. An EAS-Certified Master Beekeeper, his main interest is in finding ways to use remote sensing technologies to monitor and improve honey bee colony health and productivity. Author of The Observation Hive Handbook, maintainer of the websites and, contributor to beekeeping magazines, speaker at beekeeping associations and civic groups, and mentor to new beekeepers, Frank runs a few hives near his urban apartment and hosts an observation hive in his office.

Elaine Rodrigues (new): Beekeeper for 3 seasons (took the short course in 2015). Day job as a production scientist for a biotech company. Hobbies include needlework, crochet, and baking.

Marie Rojas (continuing): Marie Rojas is a Master Gardener who has been beekeeping for four years. She manages 4 hives – two at her farm in Beallsville, MD, and another 2 at one of her nursery grower’s properties in Adamstown. When she’s not playing with honey bees, Marie offers Integrated Pest Management (IPM) services to commercial production nurseries. Marie keeps 21 chickens for egg production on her farm. She hopes to add turkeys in 2018.

Peter Soukup (continuing): Besides being a beekeeper, Peter is a R&D electrical engineer focused on low power communications design, and a Tesla Model S owner. He recently completed a nearly 5,000 mile, all-electric cross country road trip in his Model S. He is an avid alternative fuel innovator from electric vehicles to converting diesel engines to run on used vegetable oil.



The November meeting will also include our 2nd annual Honey Tasting, organized by Jim Fraser (marylandhoneycompany2011(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) All MCBA members are invited to participate. Here are the guidelines.

  1.  If you would like to participate in the honey tasting, you should bring a container of honey, 8 oz. will be enough (if you don't have a squeeze bottle I will bring some empty ones) and label it with your name and apiary location (example: Silver Spring).
  2. If you desire to enter in the "secret jar contest," formerly called the "black jar contest," you should bring a bottle or jar of your locally produced honey, 8 oz. should be enough. Jar should be unlabeled. We will assign a number to your entry. The honeys entered will be evaluated by a panel of mystery judges solely on flavor. A prize will be awarded for the best tasting honey.
  1. There will also be a variety of other varietal honeys available for all to sample.

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