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12th Annual Bee Forum: Secrets Your Bees Want to Tell You

March 14, 2021 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:30 am on Sunday, repeating until March 28, 2021

Bees on a frame

Register for Final Session

12th Annual Bee Forum: Secrets Your Bees Want to Tell You

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance hosts an annual Bee Forum to join local beekeepers and beekeeping experts to discuss relevant topics in the world of beekeeping, in addition to building community with Chicagoland beekeepers. This year, we will host three separate online presentations in lieu of our traditional on-site gathering. GPCA is excited to have Scott Debnam, Dr. Tom Seeley, and Dr. Sean Leonard present on the topics of honey bee research and its practical application for the beekeeper. Come and learn about the secret lives of your bees.

Your registration includes a link to the final live virtual presentation! Please note, these live presentations are not recorded.


March 14 10:30am – 12pm: Scott Debnam – already presented
March 21 10:30am – 12pm: Dr. Tom Seeley – already presented
March 28 10:30am – 12pm: Dr. Sean Leonard

Cost for Final Session:

General Registration – $10
GPCA Member/Volunteer Registration – $8

Presenter Bios:

Dr. Sean Leonard

Dr. Sean Leonard is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies honey bees and their gut bacteria. He completed his PhD thesis in 2020, “Engineering the gut microbiome of honey bees,” under the co-supervision of Dr. Nancy Moran and Dr. Jeffrey Barrick. Sean combines synthetic biology with evolutionary biology and symbiosis to understand the intimate connections between hosts and symbionts and then to exploit these connections to benefit society. He has studied honey bees for over 7 years and has pioneered technology to use symbiotic gut bacteria to improve bee health.

Scott Debnam

Scott Debnam is a graduate of the University of Montana Wildlife Biology program and has 20 years of experience managing the University of Montana’s research colonies. He completed his Master’s degree in Pollination ecology in 2016 through The University of Montanas Organismal Biology, Ecology, & Evolution program and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from the Division of Biological Sciences. His research focuses on nest thermoregulation and the economics associated with thermoregulation. He, of course, uses the honeybee as the model species for this research. Scott is a Yale Scientific Teaching fellow that possesses extensive expertise with honey bee ailments and pests. He possesses an intimate knowledge of the insects that he is eager to pass on to others. To that end, he has been an instructor for the University of Montana Online Master beekeeping program for six years, instructing over a thousand students from 11 different countries. He is a recipient of the 2019 UPCEA award for outstanding online education. He began teaching the Practical Beekeeping online course for Umass Amherst in 2019 and is delighted to bring his expertise to the University of Massachusetts Sustainable Food and Farming program.

Dr. Tom Seeley

Dr. Tom Seeley received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Dartmouth College. He received his PhD in 1978 from Harvard University, where he studied with Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson. He held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Society of Fellows at Harvard until 1980, when he accepted a faculty position at Yale University. He remained there until 1986, when he joined the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. In recognition of his scientific work, he has received the Alexander von Humboldt Distinguished U.S. Scientist Prize, been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, received a Gold Medal Book Award from Apimondia for The Wisdom of the Hive, and been elected a Fellow of both the Animal Behavior Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most enduring honor, though, is to have had a species of bee named after him: Neocorynurella seeleyi.


If you have a request for accommodations, please contact Mattie Wilson at or 773-638-1766. Automated live captioning will be available.


We offer a limited amount of scholarships for this program. If you’d like to be considered for a scholarship, please fill out this form (opens in a new link).

Registration for this event closes at 10:30am on the day of the program. These live presentations will not be recorded.

Thank you to our event sponsors! Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association, Lake County Beekeepers Association, Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association, Walworth County Beekeepers Association, Will County Beekeepers Association, and Racine-Kenosha Beekeepers Association



March 14, 2021
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Event Categories:
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300 N Central
Chicago, IL 60624 United States