Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mary Phillips

Mary Phillips just finished her class work and final exams to graduate from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Warren Wilson is a unique college which emphasizes three approaches to developing students into environmentally conscious citizens. The students study liberal arts while participating in true work and engaging in service projects. Warren Wilson stresses environmental responsibility, and some of Mary’s studies involved sustainable agriculture. Much of the college’s food is supplied from the student-run college garden. While she studied, Mary worked on campus. Her assignment was in the college’s English department. Other students’ work ranged from landscape work on campus, where students learned to climb and prune trees, to the college farm, where students tended crops and livestock. We met Mary after she attended a beekeeping course in North Carolina. She also attended the Memphis Area Beekeepers short course in beekeeping. Mary came out to Peace Bee Farm to get experience working in the bee hives. She cheerfully endured some intense Arkansas Delta summer-time heat and humidity and a few bee stings along the way. Mary also helped sell honey and bee hive products at farmers markets and participated in environmental presentations. We discussed with the public the role of honey bees and native pollinators in the environment.

While Mary was completing her college studies, she also worked at an early childhood school. Here, she helped the children learn about the origin of our food by planting a garden and raising chickens. Mary also relieved parents by caring for their children with autism. Rita and I were delighted to learn that Mary will remain nearby in Memphis, Tennessee, where she will be teaching children in an elementary school. She has some chickens, and she asked me to assist her to establish a couple bee hives. I know that the children, chickens, and bees will be in caring and capable hands. We hope to continue to see her regularly at the bee farm.

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