A Bee Beard Like No Other

Jul 29, 2014

Bee scientists, beekeepers and bee photographers so love their bees that they can't get enough of them.

So when the international Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), comprised of communicators, educators and information technologists in agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences, issued a call for feature photos for its annual Critique & Awards Program, I thought why not?

Why not enter the photo of UC Davis visiting bee scientist Jakub Gabka of Poland wearing his bee beard? Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, now of Washington State University, loves to do bee beard events, so one day, after hours, she set up a private bee beard event on the grounds of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. A handful of beekeepers gleefully participated in an event meant to inform, educate and entertain.

Talk about getting close to the bees!

Jakub Gabka's reaction was priceless. Check out the eyes!

That's the photo I entered in the feature category. The judge awarded it first place (gold), scoring it 97 points out of a possible 100, and commented: "Wow! This is a show-stopper. Depending on your relationship with bees, this can either make you laugh or cause you to go into anaphylactic shock. The photographer did almost everything right here. From the position of the bees (Is that one going to crawl into his mouth?) to the expression on the subject's face, this is nearly perfect. Because I don't believe in perfection, I'd ask only that the flesh tones be a little warmer. Other than,  great image."

ACE presented the awards at its recent Portland (Ore.) conference, and the University of California communicators hauled home quite a few of them.

Other awards: yours truly received a gold for “best writing on the web” for the Bug Squad blog, "Thankful for Insects" and a bronze (third-place) award for "Looking Back at 2013, featuring a few favorite photos from 2013. 

Steve Heindl, Marissa Stein and Ray Lucas of Communication Services & Information Technology won gold in the Educational Package category for the online “Introduction to Forest Management” course they produced for Rick Standiford, UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. 

For promotional videos, ACE awarded silver for the UC Cooperative Extension centennial video. The video was produced by the UC Office of the President's multimedia team of Jessica Wheeler, Zach Long and Larissa Branin with direction from Pam Kan-Rice and Cynthia Kintigh of the UC ANR Communication Services and Information Technology (CSIT).

Grape Pest Management, Third Edition” won a silver award for technical publications for Larry J. Bettiga, UCCE Extension viticulture advisor in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, as technical editor, and CSIT editors Steve Barnett and Hazel White and CSIT designers Robin Walton and Will Suckow. They also received a bronze award for the reference book's design in the 2014 PubWest Book Design Award.

Congratulations to them all!