A life's work: Graduate students share one man's story of beekeeping in Wisconsin

September 23, 2011

In his nearly 50 years of keeping bees, Eugene Woller says, a lot has changed to make beekeeping more difficult: farming methods, crops, pesticide use, and the emergence of new threats such as Colony Collapse Disorder.

But the bee hasn't changed, says Woller, who owns Gentle Breeze Honey in Mt. Horeb, Wis. And it's a love of bees that keeps him raising and protecting this important insect.

Woller is the subject of a short film produced by Sara Randle and Heather Swan, students in the Nelson Institute Culture, History and Environment (CHE) graduate certificate program. Their film, Beekeeping in Wisconsin, was created for the spring 2011 CHE Methods Seminar.

Students in the seminar were tasked with working in pairs to develop a digital story related to landscapes of health and illness in Wisconsin. The goal of the films is to encourage viewers to consider our relationships to places, wildlife and plants in new ways through the lens of health and illness.

The digital stories are part of a larger Landscapes of Health collection on the CHE website – an eclectic set of reflections from participants in the CHE 2011 place-based workshop and a study guide of readings on history, health, place and the environment.

Over the next several weeks, we will continue to post the student films, which range in topics from tobacco growing to goose management and from wood burning to the history and hazards of the Badger Ammunition Plant.

The CHE graduate certificate program explores environmental and cultural change across the full sweep of human history, from diverse perspectives in the humanities and sciences.