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Lulek is Beekeeper of the Year

by Press Release
April 10, 2017

The Norfolk County Beekeepers Association's Board of Directors would like to announce that Tony Lulek is the 2016 Beekeeper of the Year for the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association.

The Norfolk County Beekeepers Association's Board of Directors would like to announce that Tony Lulek is the 2016 Beekeeper of the Year for the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association.

Tony has been an active member of the Norfolk County Beekeepers Association for over 11 years and is both past president (2009-2014), past director and lead instructor for our bee school. It has often been said that "If you ask 2 beekeepers a question, you will get 3 answers" but in Tony's case he has a way with the way he answers that clearly resonates with new beekeepers. He always is willing to take time out of his busy schedule to share the benefit of his experience and often has been known to offer up an opportunity at his apiary for any member of the club to join him for hive inspections and package and/or nuc installation.

Tony got the fever for beekeeping when he saw hives sitting a long a stockade fence in the residential town of Dedham, MA. He thought it was strange for a beehive to be placed in a residential neighborhood and assumed one needed more land. Tony researched the hobby and craft of beekeeping by going to the library and reading up on bees and beekeeping. Tony researched local clubs and bee schools and finally enlisted in the Norfolk County bee school in 2004 with 18 other attendees.

After "graduation" of bee school and experiencing his first year in the club (of 71 total members), he was nominated to the officer slate as corresponding secretary. Tony continued to serve as corresponding secretary and recording secretary in the next 2-year election cycle.  As health issues took a toll on the residing president, Ed Karle and Tony Lulek were nominated to President and Vice President respectively. At this stage with the new slate of board officers, Ed Karle, Tony Lulek, Tim Sullivan, and Howard Crawford, the direction of the NCBA changed for the better.

Tony became President of the Norfolk County Beekeepers Association in 2009 and brought with him the experience of community service from other associations, such as the Holliston Garden Club. Some of his goals as President were to bring the general club activities into the modern era.

For instance; the club bylaws were last revised in 1953, to establish the NCBA as a nonprofit organization, continued development of bee school and growth with best beekeeping practices. Around this time, the current bee school director resigned with no real succession plan, Tony organized a committee to modernize the bee school foundation and developed it into a consistent program with a respected reputation and comprehensive information to provide any new beekeeper a solid base from which to raise honeybees. This is evident with the growth of bee school students consistently topping 100 students the last four years. Another bee school best practice program that Tony established was the Mentor Guidelines so all mentors had the same general understanding for guidance to their students.

Under Tony's leadership, he helped to establish a scholarship program to the Norfolk Agricultural School for their graciously hosting the cafeteria for our club activities. This scholarship started out as a single $500 award and has now grown to three $500 awards per year. Tony also helped to establish the NCBA Hall of Fame award to worthy club recipients. Tony reinvigorated the annual family picnic - from a gathering at a local restaurant to a full NCBA family get-together at the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. During Tony’s NCBA officer tenure, he became active with the Massachusetts Bee Association.

Tony finally handed over the reigns as NCBA President after serving 5 1/2 years and growing the club to over 400 members strong.

From a community outreach program, his enthusiasm for beekeeping activities lead to giving his first beekeeping presentation to the Holliston Garden Club. From this point, Tony has continually provided annual beekeeping programs at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Massachusetts Horticultural and Massachusetts Master Gardeners events. He also speaks annually to the Elmwood Elementary School on bees.

Tony has recently been involved with the “Ag Day on the Hill” in Boston - sponsored by the Mass Bee Association. He is also passionately involved with the hot button issues of pesticide usage in the state. Tony was a member of the Mass Farm Bureau Apiary Advisory committee for Bee Pollinator Stewardship and collaborative effort on the impact of pesticides on the honeybees. Additionally he was involved with “People Protecting Pollinators" a program set up by likeminded individuals to advocate for stopping the use of pesticide impacting all pollinating insects. To this end, Tony was actively pursuing the Norfolk County Mosquito Control to create test sites for the effects of pesticide usage and the impact to the honeybees. The program consists of various bee hive sites, pesticide usage, blind test locations, and neutral locations. This effort is currently pending state approval and financing in the State Reclamation and Mosquito Dept.

Tony is also one of the key drivers working to establish the capability within the NCBA to raise queens that are locally adapted to the severe winters and other climatic conditions commonly experienced here in the Northeast. This passion was piqued when a program was given by the Plymouth County Beekeeper’s Association on queen rearing. Tony and a fellow NCBA member garnered the strength to put forth the effort and started reading and learning from fellow beekeeping groups to lay the ground work for a queen rearing stewardship in this area.

This capability when brought to fruition will have a significant impact on the ability of local beekeepers to access queens that not only will survive but thrive yea r on yea r.

Tony lives in Holliston, MA and raised 4 children, who are now grown. Tony has had a lifelong affiliation with beekeeping products. He recalls driving to Windsor Locks, Connecticut with his mother to purchase honey. Tony's last name, Lulek, in Polish means Little Bee Hive. It is with this passion that his hobby expanded to a cottage business to produce and sell the products of the hive - honey, beeswax candles, soap, and skin cream - all made from/with the honey, beeswax, and propolis of his bees.

Perhaps this drive to help share his experience can best be illustrated by his apiary website page which states “Nestled in a suburban neighborhood, you may not notice the farm. This is not the traditional suburban yard, the grass isn't mowed, clover is growing everywhere, and chickens and beehives have taken over the yard. Stop by for a visit sometimes. I love to meet new people and share the farm. Children are always welcome". This is classic Tony. His calm presence and very approachable demeanor is one of the primary reasons for both the club and bee school in particular having grown as rapidly as it has.

 

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