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Northwest B.C. teen headed to international beekeeping competition

A three-member Team Canada is the only representative from all of North America going to Slovenia
Vanderhoof resident Malvina Pavon and two other team members will be representing Canada at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers in Slovenia in July. (Submitted photo)

Beekeeping has been a way of life for Malvina Pavon since she was little.

Growing up on a farm, she learned the secrets of beekeeping from her parents who are beekeepers from Argentina who moved to Vanderhoof before Pavon was born. It became an activity that she learned to love.

Today the 16-year-old Vanderhoof girl is preparing to represent Canada on an international beekeeping platform for young beekeepers in Slovenia next month.

Pavon will be attending the 12th annual International Meeting of Young Beekeepers (IMYB) along with two other members of Team Canada — Olivia from Hiawatha First Nation and Gracen from Fort Erie, Ont.

Pavon and her teammates are the sole representatives from all of North America.

Up to 40 countries will be participating in IMYB this year. The event started in 2010 in Czech Republic and is considered one of the largest international conferences for young beekeepers aged 12 to 18 years. The four-day event includes a competition that consists of several practical, as well as academic disciplines and tests the knowledge and skills of the young participants when it comes to beekeeping.

“It is an annual event that brings together youth from all around the world and allows them to demonstrate their beekeeping knowledge and skills, while introducing them to other young beekeepers, their cultures and beekeeping methods,” Pavon explains.

Pavon, who is in Grade 11 and enrolled in the EBUS academy, said she and her sister first learned about IMYB five years ago while researching for one of their YouTube videos.

“We are pretty beesy people,” Pavon said describing her family.

Then in 2019 at the worldwide beekeeping congress, Apimondia, held in Montreal, Pavon, her sister and mother, had the opportunity to meet with the president of IMYB.

Apimondia is held once every two years and it is where beekeepers learn from one another, there are keynote speakers, workshops and many companies offer new machinery and new technology that can be applied in beekeeping.

”It was a big moment for us since the president mentioned that he wanted to see us as participants of IMYB,” Pavon said.

It was an exciting opportunity and Pavon says they were so interested in being part of this event that they contacted representatives of IMYB in Canada.

After several meetings via Zoom, paperwork and some tests that evaluated all her skills including public speaking, she was selected with the two other girls.

“As Canadians we have the privilege to represent our country being the only ones invited in the whole American continent,” she said.

While she is constantly training with the rest of the team and working on fundraisers to cover the cost of the trip, Pavon has an important message for all British Columbians and Canadians.

“The message I want to share about the fascinating world of bees is that we cannot forget that the future of beekeeping along with other important activities relies on future generations. Beekeepers are stewards of nature and caretakers of one of Mother Nature’s creations.”

The girls will be travelling to Slovenia in July with two chaperones. The estimated cost of registration and travel is $12,000.

For those who would like to contribute and support the 2023 Youth Beekeepers Team Canada there is a GoFundMe page.