Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon

by OnePlanet
Play Video
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Maijuna beekeeper with visitors
Maijuna beekeeper with visitors

Over the past year, we have been working closely with the Maijuna as well as other partners (Amazon Explorama Lodges and Amazon Rainforest Workshops) to develop educational programs for visitors to Maijuna lands. These educational programs are geared toward university and high school groups from the US as well as ecotourists with an emphasis on conservation and sustainable development projects in Maijuna lands. A focal point of these programs is the stingless beekeeping project and we have trained the Maijuna to effectively teach visitors about the biology and ecology of Amazonian stingless bees as well as the details of the project.

These hands-on bee programs culminate in opening hives and doing a honey tasting which is always the highlight of the visitor experience. We can think of no better way to learn about native stingless bees than to have a firsthand peek and taste directly from the hive. And, the first question that people always ask after tasting the honey is: “Can I buy some?” In response to these requests, we have been working with the Maijuna to develop a marketing and sales strategy that earns them a premium price for their honey. For a 2-oz bottle of stingless bee honey the Maijuna earn $3 selling it directly to visitors, which is ten times what they would earn on the regional market! Our goal is to ramp up direct visitor sales as well as honey production in the coming months.

And, by the way, we have structured things so all visitors to the Maijuna community pay an entrance fee to take part in the educational programs and their visit culminates in a craft fair where Maijuna artisans sell traditional crafts to visitors. Over the past three months alone, 6 university/high school groups consisting of 130 students in total as well as over 150 ecotourists visited the Maijuna bringing in even more sustainable income to the community. All of this is helping to boost the income of the Maijuna which is critical since each family has traditionally earned less than $2 per day.

The Maijuna beekeepers are incredibly excited about the future of the project and we hope that you are too! New families are looking to join the beekeeping project and funding travel costs to their communities to train and support them is only $250. Thanks so much for your continued support and we promise that we will continue to keep you updated as this project progresses!

Bottles of honey
Bottles of honey
Stingless bee hive
Stingless bee hive
Stingless bees
Stingless bees
Maijuna baskets for sale to visitors
Maijuna baskets for sale to visitors
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Young Beekeepers
Young Beekeepers

Every time we go out to Maijuna lands to run a stingless beekeeping workshop it reminds us of all the different things that we love about this project. One of the best parts is how inclusive the project is. Stingless beekeeping is something that can be done by all segments of society (young and old, women and men) ultimately empowering all community members. The Maijuna beekeepers that we have been working with include little girls less than 10 years of age (pictured here) all the way up to older men and women in their 70s. That’s what makes this so much fun and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Another reason why we are so passionate about this project is that it is providing critically important sustainable income to Maijuna families, supporting their desire to conserve and sustainably use their ancestral lands and biocultural resources. On average, each Maijuna family earns less than $2/day and they have been searching for sustainable ways to earn a living. Without viable sustainable income generating activities such as stingless beekeeping, the allure of logging, overhunting, and other unsustainable activities may be too great for the Maijuna to ignore given the need to provide for their families. So, this project is providing the Maijuna with real and meaningful sustainable income that they can use to better the lives of their families.

We couldn’t be happier with our partnership with the Maijuna and how this project has unfolded. We continue to increase the number of Maijuna beekeepers involved in the project, touching more and more families along the way. Please help us to achieve the Maijuna’s vision for a more sustainable future by continuing to support our stingless beekeeping work with the Maijuna. Thanks so much for your continued support – your generosity has helped to make this exciting project possible!

Extracting Honey
Extracting Honey
Rainforest Sunset
Rainforest Sunset
Capped Heron in Maijuna Lands
Capped Heron in Maijuna Lands
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Learning from other stingless beekeepers
Learning from other stingless beekeepers

The past 3 months have been filled with all the normal project activity in Maijuna lands that we know and love: running community-level stingless beekeeping workshops, working on the family-level to increase the number of hives and improve hive management practices, recruiting new families into the project, and the list goes on. However, one thing that was quite out of the ordinary and even more exciting than normal was a 3-day trip that we organized for Maijuna beekeepers to the city of Iquitos, Peru to meet other stingless beekeepers and exchange experiences. Really, this was a trip to open their eyes and to think big.

It’s one thing to tell the Maijuna what this stingless beekeeping project can mean for their community and families and it’s another thing entirely to directly show them. On the way to Iquitos we stopped by the apiary of a well-established stingless beekeeper named Carlos M. who has over 50 hives, earning him more sustainable income from beekeeping than the Maijuna have ever imagined. For the 15 Maijuna beekeepers present, this was a chance for them to see with their own eyes what a well-managed and highly productive apiary looks like and to ask question after question of someone that started from scratch like they did.

The following day in Iquitos, there was a daylong meeting that pulled together stingless beekeepers from around the area to share experiences and lessons learned. The Maijuna gave a presentation about their community-based stingless beekeeping project as did others, ultimately opening a space for dialogue and exchange. This was followed by visits to 5 other apiaries of successful stingless beekeepers in the area that again allowed the Maijuna to learn directly from others. Opening hives, discussing management practices, learning by doing – there is no better way for the Maijuna stingless beekeepers to learn.

Heading back to Maijuna lands from Iquitos there truly was a palpable sense of excitement and buzz on the boat. With our goal of opening their eyes and getting them to think big about the future of the project achieved, we are more committed than ever to the long-term success of this project. Thanks so much for your continued support – your generosity has helped to make this exciting project possible!

Successful and highly productive apiary
Successful and highly productive apiary
Project presentations
Project presentations
Opening hives and learning by doing
Opening hives and learning by doing
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Sebastian -- Maijuna leader and beekeeper
Sebastian -- Maijuna leader and beekeeper

Sebastián, pictured here, is not only the president of the Maijuna indigenous federation but he is also now the proud patriarch of an extended family of stingless beekeepers. Sebastian’s direct family has 4 stingless beehives while his three adult sons and their families have a combined 11 hives. Before we started our project in Maijuna lands no one in Sebastian’s extended family was tending stingless bees so we couldn’t be more excited about their successes.

But, Sebastián is not content to just see his extended family succeed, he is also concerned about all the Maijuna. As the president of the Maijuna federation he envisions stingless beekeeping playing a central role in a more sustainable future for the Maijuna. The average Maijuna family survives on less than $2 per day and stingless bee honey can help to significantly boost their income and quality of life in an environmentally and socially responsible way. This ultimately means more sustainable income for school supplies, health care, and other important family expenses. This is real sustainable income, helping to improve the lives of real people.

Please help us achieve Sebastian’s vision for a more sustainable future for the Maijuna by continuing to support our stingless beekeeping work with the Maijuna. As we move into the holiday season, we can think of nothing better or more meaningful than to sponsor a hive of native stingless bees ($50) or a week-long beekeeping workshop ($1,000) in the name of a loved one. Any level of support helps and we cannot thank you enough for your continued support!

Kent -- Sebastian's son and beekeeper
Kent -- Sebastian's son and beekeeper
Jill -- Junior beekeeper
Jill -- Junior beekeeper
Stars in Maijuna lands
Stars in Maijuna lands
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Telmo -- Maijuna beekeeper
Telmo -- Maijuna beekeeper

I just recently returned from the Peruvian Amazon where I was not only working on OnePlanet’s projects in Maijuna lands but also teaching a field course for George Mason University students. The focus of the field course was on the conservation and sustainability of the Amazon and we spent several days learning about OnePlanet’s community-based conservation and sustainable development projects in Maijuna lands.

Hands down, the project that the students were most excited to see and learn about was the stingless beekeeping project. Witnessing the student’s reactions when the Maijuna first opened their stingless beehives was priceless; none of them had ever seen an Amazonian stingless bee beforehand let alone heard that they even existed. With their distinctive honey pots, the hives before them were so incredibly different than any that they had ever seen and by the time they tasted the unique and complex honey they were hooked.

But the thing that was most fun for me to see was how excited the Maijuna were to teach the students about stingless beekeeping. They are born teachers and it really showed. Telmo, pictured here, opened several of his hives and taught the students not only the ins and outs of managing and tending his hives but also detailed information about the ecology and biology of stingless bees. Hearing how much he has learned and what the project means to him and his family was truly energizing.

Telmo and the other Maijuna beekeepers are incredibly excited about the future of the project and we hope that you are too! New families are looking to join the beekeeping project and funding travel costs to their communities to train and support them is only $250. Thanks so much for your continued support – your generosity has helped to make this exciting project possible!

Telmo -- working in beehive
Telmo -- working in beehive
Telmo's beehive
Telmo's beehive
GMU students and Maijuna
GMU students and Maijuna
Squirrel monkey in Maijuna lands
Squirrel monkey in Maijuna lands
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

OnePlanet

Location: Burke, VA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Michael Gilmore
President, OnePlanet
Burke, VA United States
$18,864 raised of $35,000 goal
 
241 donations
$16,136 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

OnePlanet has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.