Brooke Decker was born to be a beekeeper. Her grandfather kept commercial beehives and both her mother and her aunt tend backyard hives in Brooke’s home state of Ohio. During her time studying Environmental Education at Antioch, Brooke continued the beekeeping legacy.
For her master’s internship, she worked in Cuttingsville, Vermont for a local commercial beekeeper. Brooke also established her own apiary at Harlow Farm in Westminster,VT where she sold her own honey at the farmers’ market and organized workshops for people interested in learning more about beekeeping.
After earning her Master’s degree, Brooke spent three summers working as a seasonal apiary inspector at Hildene — The Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, VT — managing an apiary and building areas to attract native pollinators.
This past September, Brooke accepted a new position as Vermont’s first, full-time Pollinator Health Specialist with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. In this position, Brooke will develop comprehensive strategies to improve the health and protection of Vermont’s pollinators. In addition, Brooke will guide the state’s apiary regulatory program, develop education and outreach materials, and establish state policies to protect pollinators.
Brooke is enthusiastic about this new opportunity, “It is super exciting! I will not only be educating a range of stakeholders about pollinators, but I will act as the state bee inspector.”
Brooke cherishes her time spent at Antioch. She believes that the culmination of experiences from grad school made her a strong candidate for this position. Reflecting back, she says that the leadership, communication, and group cooperation skills, combined with the science and education curriculum, provided her with effective tools for such a dynamic position.
Brooke graduated from the Environmental Studies Department with a focus in Environmental Education in 2017. She will be the first female inspector in the state of Vermont!