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Know Your Professor: Noah Wilson-Rich, urban beekeeper

Watch Noah Wilson-Rich: Every city needs honey bees

Meet Noah Wilson-Rich, one of Simmons College's newest faculty members in the Department of Biology. If there's one thing you need to know about Noah Wilson-Rich, it's that he's an expert on urban beekeeping. He recently gave an extremely popular TED Talk about the importance of honey bees in cities, and the key role they play in creating a sustainable ecosystem. In this edition of Know Your Professor, we chatted with Noah Wilson-Rich to find out more about his passion for bees, what he does when he's not teaching, and why he loves Simmons.

Any plans for a beehive at Simmons?
I am willing and ready to set up a (non-aggressive!) honey bee hive at Simmons anytime. I am a relentless proponent of urban beekeeping, urban agriculture, and sustainability as a whole. Anyone who eats food needs to understand that honey bees are of vital importance because of their role as pollinators.The Simmons Sustainability Club is working hard at getting a honey bee hive on campus. These Simmons honey bees would reflect the Simmons community in many ways.
How so?
Because bees are a female-dominated society that does extremely good work for the betterment of this world. The educational value of honey bees is endless. There are opportunities for hands-on agricultural and sustainability training; we can study systems to test theories relating to economics, sociology, biology, and chemistry; and the sale of honey and beeswax products can be a source of fundraising revenue for student groups. I strongly encourage everyone at Simmons to join the effort to bring honey bees to campus!
What's your favorite class to teach? Why?
Biology 342 - Topics in Behavioral Biology is my baby! I enjoy teaching this class for so many reasons. Animal behavior is so fascinating because we have been studying it our entire lives, whether consciously or not. Beyond studying the human animal, we take a lot of "virtual field trips" to become intimately familiar with all sorts of animals. So far this semester, we have learned interior decorating techniques from bowerbird nests in the dense forests of Papua New Guinea; dating and mate choice advice from seahorses; food selection techniques from platypuses and sharks; navigation techniques from sea turtles, sibling rivalry dynamics from African hyenas; and many, many more! Teaching this behavior course really is a dream come true for me.
What book are you currently reading?
Inferno by Max Hastings and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

What's your favorite book?
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
This is the hardest question for me to answer! I never met two of my grandparents, so they come to mind. I would love to kick it with Oprah and convince her to help join the beekeeping movement. I also would love to sit down with Langstroth, the monk who created the current beehive structure that we still use today, and find out how he figured out the preferences of honey bees down to 1/8 of an inch!
What's your favorite website or social network?
Fill in the blank: I love Simmons because__________
Everyone is incredibly friendly. Faculty say "hi" to one another in the parking lot, even if we've never met! I sincerely appreciate the lack of ego amongst the scholars here. If I do not know something and ask another, the answer always comes without judgment. This is such a wonderful place to learn for not only our enrolled students, but also for the entire Simmons community.
When I was in college, I__________
... was nicknamed "The Mayor" because I was so outgoing. I would start up a conversation with pretty much anyone.
My hidden talent is:
Finding cheap airline tickets.
What is your favorite band/artist?
Erykah Badu & Jill Scott (tie!)
What song is your personal anthem?
4 Life by Nicki Minaj
Do you have a favorite TV show?
Real Housewives of Atlanta (It's on in the background right now!)
What's your favorite restaurant or hangout in Boston?
I have lived in the South End since 2005, so I frequent all the local South End restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. My favorite anytime place is Anchovies.
Describe Simmons in one word:
When I'm not teaching, I'm__________
Running my company, Best Bees. Find out more about Best Bees through our website and contact me for internship possibilities! We have three Simmons interns right now and they are fantastic!
I love my students because:
They are incredibly earnest. I have so much respect for my students at Simmons because they have worked so incredibly hard to get where they are today, and they come from such diverse backgrounds. I have one student who commutes by train from Lowell every day. I have another student whose husband lives in New York, whom she travels to see every weekend. I have three students who chose to intern at Best Bees, and they surprise me every day at how much they are able to accomplish. I am so honored to be a part of the Simmons community, and hope to stay for a long time!

If you're interested in learning more about biology lecturer Noah Wilson-Rich and his adventures in urban beekeeping, visit the Best Bees Company website, or check out the Best Bees Facebook page and YouTube channel. Simmons students, be sure to contact him for internship opportunities at

To learn more about the biology program, visit the Department of Biology website. Be sure to like Simmons College on Facebook, follow the College on Twitter @SimmonsCollege, and check out Simmons College on YouTube.

Posted by Amanda Voodre
Category: Know Your Professor
Topics: science

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Amanda Voodre published on November 28, 2012 10:16 AM.

Then and Now: Simmons celebrates the school's history was the previous entry in this blog.

Seven ways to stay motivated during your final semester is the next entry in this blog.

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