Dr. Rob Brooks & His Honeybee Initiative

Without bees and other pollinators, most of the fruits and vegetables we eat would never grow. And honeybee populations have been under stress and in decline for years. Dr. Rob Brooks began an initiative with Lawrence Parks & Recreation to trap and rescue local swarms of honeybees.

Rob's history with bees

A senior trainer and consultant with META, Rob began working with bees when he was 8. Bees interested him so much that he got a PhD in Entomology with bees as his specialty. Rob has written 3 books and around 50 papers on the subject.

Why bees are important

Honeybees are pollinators. They carry pollen from the male part of the plant to the female part of the plant. As a result of this process, plants grow fruits and seeds and produce new plants. Farmers rely on honeybees to do this work. Much of the food we eat depends on this relationship between plants and the pollinators who pollinate them. Rob says, “Every third bite that we eat, if it's not a grain, is from a pollinated food source. And the main pollinator in the world is honeybees.”

Threats to bees

For years now, honeybees – and other pollinators – have been under threat from mites, pesticides, and changing habitats and climate. This, in turn, threatens our food sources. Cities like Lawrence, Kansas, allow people to keep honeybees in city limits. This is a good thing. But many pest control businesses do not relocate bees. Rob noticed that when the bee colonies swarmed, or split, bees often wound up in houses, where they were exterminated.

Swarm season and Rob's traps

Swarm season begins every year around early May. A honeybee colony will split in half. A new queen hatches and remains in the old hive with half of the worker bees. The old queen and the rest of the workers leave to find a new home. This is the swarm.

Rob’s traps are designed to catch swarming honeybees. Rob says “there are several secrets to make these traps so attractive that they want to go into the box rather than into a tree hole” or a house. If built well, the traps can be reused year after year. This year, Rob has placed 16 of the traps in parks around Lawrence.

Number of bees trapped this year

The traps have caught 17 or 18 swarms since May. By weighing the traps before and after catching the honeybees, Rob figures he’s caught about 90 pounds of bees. He estimates that’s around 450,000 bees. “That's enough bees to pollinate about 100 acres of almonds.” Rob puts the trapped swarms into new hives where the bees can be cared for.

Hopes for the future

Rob is applying for an FDA grant to help support his honeybee initiative. He wants to build a website that explains the project and offers training on how to replicate it. And Rob plans on expanding the program to nearby cities, then beyond. He is mentoring a new generation of beekeepers who are helping with the initiative.

What can you do?

Plant bee-friendly plants, perennials, and trees. Plants in the mint and sunflower families are good. Rob also recommends trees. “Trees are actually a better source of nectar or pollen than plants are.” Basswood, or linden, is a great tree for bees. And if a swarm of bees does land on your property, see if you can find someone to relocate them.

Additional resources

Visit META’s YouTube page to see an interview with Dr. Rob Brooks about this initiative.

The Lawrence Journal-World recently wrote about Rob’s initiative. You can find that article here.

For a list of people who remove bee swarms in Kansas, click here.

Saying Farewell to Kathi Hartog

If you have been a student or worked with META in the last 18 years, then you know Kathi Hartog. Kathi is the Logistics Manager at META, meaning she deals with the day-to-day operations and logistics of our training courses. If a trainer has a problem, they call Kathi, if Brad, our owner, has a problem, he calls Kathi.

Kathi started her time at META in 2004 and in the course of 18 years, she has done it all. Of all of her memories, she says her favorite occurred when Brad Mayhew was out of the country.

“My favorite memory happened while the boss was in France. I took staged photos of the staff for a welcome home poster,” Hartog says.

Kathi is often referred to as the brains of the operation. Her years with META and constant work with all of our trainers gave her the ability to learn most of the ins and outs of the business. Kathi's job was multifaceted and gave her the opportunity to work with many different departments within META.

“The best part of my job is the variety of tasks I do and the people that I work with,” Kathi said.

Earlier this year, Kathi  decided she was ready for a well-earned retirement. Her last day with META is June 30th. She has worked closely with her replacement, Lauren Howe the last few months in order to ease the transition for everyone.

“Training with Kathi over this past month has been so bittersweet. When I arrive at work each morning, Kathi’s smiling face is the first to greet me each morning. I think I’ve learned more from Kathi about what it means to be selfless, loving, and positive in all things. It became clear very early that the daily loss of Kathi isn’t just going to be felt within the walls of META. No one is more deserving of retirement and all the excitement it will bring- because if I have learned anything about Kathi- she will not slow down in the least come July and her adventures are only just beginning,” Howe said.

Though we are so excited for Kathi to enjoy her retirement, we are very sad to see her go. We wish her nothing but happiness and  relaxation in the coming years!

Our Available Online Courses

Late last year, we went live with online courses. SInce then, we have done our best to expand our course options, states we’re accredited in and more. In order to keep our clients up to date, we wanted to give an updated list of our available courses. In total, we have nine online courses available for purchase.

  1. Inspector Refresher
    1. Description: The course includes 13 modules that cover (1) Instruction in asbestos background information, asbestos identification, (2) Potential health effects, (3) Role of inspector, (4) Insurance issues in asbestos industry, (5) Building systems, (6) Public/employee/building occupant relations, (7) Pre-inspection, inspection, & post-inspection, (8) Bulk sampling and sample analysis, (9) Damage assessment, (10) Recordkeeping & inspection report, (11) Respiratory protection, (12) Legal liabilities, and regulations of federal agencies and state and local government, and (13) Final exam.
    2. Cost: $145
  2. Supervisor Refresher
    1. Description: The 14 modules cover training areas including: (1) Asbestos characteristics, (2) Potential health effects, (3) State of the art work practices, (4) Personal hygiene and PPE, (5) Safety hazards, (6) Air monitoring, (7) Insurance and liability issues, (8) Respiratory protection programs and medical surveillance program, (9) Regulations, (10) Supervisory techniques, (11) Contract specifications, (12) Recordkeeping, (13) Vignettes (Optional module), and (14) Final exam.
    2. Cost: $185
  3. Management Planner Refresher
    1. Description: This course covers topics of all review components, updates for regulatory and work practice changes, exploration of frequently asked questions and scenarios, and assessment based on students’ state and regulatory requirements. The videos in the course discuss the following topics: Introduction to management planning, Reviewing and evaluating inspection results, Hazard assessment and response, Liability considerations, Response actions and their applicability, The collaborative team, The operations & maintenance program, Regulations and enforcement and Recordkeeping. And a final exam to conclude the course.
    2. Cost: $145
  4. Project Designer Refresher
    1. Description: The 12 modules cover training areas including: (1) Introduction of project design and the background information of asbestos, (2) Potential health effects, (3) Relevant federal, State, and local regulatory requirements, (4) Employee PPE, (5) Additional safety hazards, (6) Designing abatement solutions, (7) Safety system design specifications and work practice, (8) Fiber aerodynamics and control, (9) Final clearance, (10) Review of abatement project preparation, (11) Contract preparation and administration, and (12) Final exam.
    2. Cost: $200
  5. Asbestos Worker Refresher
    1. Description: The modules in this course satisfy the 8-hour requirement for asbestos workers. The 13 modules cover training areas including: (1) Physical Characteristics of Asbestos, (2) Health & Asbestos Exposure, (3) Employee PPE, Respiratory Protection and Medical Program, (4) Glovebag Demonstration, (5) Surfactant Demonstration, (6) Mini Enclosure Demonstration, (7) State of the Art Work Practices, (8) Personal Hygiene, (9) Federal, State, and Local Government Regulations, (10) Additional Safety Hazards, (11) Air Monitoring, (12) Specific Removal Work Scenarios (an optional module), and (13) Final Exam.
    2. Cost: $125
  6. AHERA Maintenance and Custodial Worker Refresher
    1. Description: This course contains 9 modules cover training areas including: (1) Two-hour Asbestos Awareness Training, (2) Health & Respirator Protection, (3) Worker Practices, (4) Glovebag Demonstration, (5) Surfactant Demonstration, (6) Mini Enclosure Demonstration, (7) Liability Issues, (8) Local Education Agency (LEA) Responsibilities, and (9) The AHERA Rules.
    2. Cost: $125
  7. Lead RRP
    1. Description: The Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Renovator Refresher course (without hands-on) is to review the relevant and important information given in the RRP Initial training course, as well as provide any current information regarding regulatory changes, changes in work practices, and changes to the RRP Renovator discipline. This course covers the required refresher components under EPA's Lead RRP Rule and it is necessary for contractors, painters, and remodelers.
    2. Cost: $125
  8. Two-Hour Asbestos Awareness
    1. Description: This course provides students with basic information about asbestos and its hazards. Students learn how to identify typical ACM required by OSHA Asbestos Standards and EPA AHERA rules for school employees who perform housekeeping duties. The course addresses topics for an annual refresher for employees who perform Class III Maintenance and Small-Scale, Short-Duration activities (as defined by AHERA) but assumes that those employees have more comprehensive information from the original class. This training does not certify the students to work with asbestos. It teaches the students how to avoid costly mistakes when working around asbestos containing materials. There is no exam for the course. This course is offered in both English and Spanish.
    2. Cost: $60
  9. LEA Designated Person
    1. Description: Local Education Agencies (LEAs) have specific requirements and responsibilities. The LEA can lead the school into compliance with 3-year re-inspection requirements, recordkeeping, staff, and guardian annual notification requirements, and compliance to OSHA and AHERA requirements for the asbestos operations and maintenance program required when asbestos is still in the buildings. If you work within an educational setting, these specifics may be particularly pertinent to your training.
    2. Cost: $35

If you are interested in taking any of our available online courses, please visit our website and sign-up today! You can also call us at 1-800-444-6382 (META) or email us at info@metaworldwide.com.

Meet Dr. Connie Hu 

Last year, META took a huge step forward in our training program by adding our Online Training Department (OTD). A big help in that was our Online Training Program Manager, Dr. Connie Hu. Dr. Hu has her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy with a concentration in Educational Technology. This degree and her many years of classroom experience makes Dr. Hu the perfect Online Training Program Manager.  

Dr. Hu works closely not only with the Online Training Department but also with Brad Mayhew, our founder, and the subject matter experts on curriculum development. This guarantees that the OTD is meeting its goals and doing everything they can to ensure students a smooth experience in taking our online courses.

In addition to dedicating her time to META, Connie volunteers during the weekend and works on her research and publications. She enjoys cooking, morning walks, and lavender lattes. Connie and her husband try new restaurants frequently.

With Dr. Hu leading the team, the Online Training Department has been able to receive accreditation in all Asbestos Refresher courses in Alabama, Missouri, Florida & Tennessee, and in EPA RRP. The OTD has also made our website fully functional and capable of allowing clients to register courses online with ease. The OTD is now working on expanding META’s accreditation footprint in the west and the northeastern regions as well as producing more quality online courses.

To sign-up for an online course today, visit our website or call us at 1-800-444-META (6382).

Our Social Media Platforms

Social media is an important part of any small business, in fact it is one of the easiest ways you can support a small business. At META we have several different social media platforms in order to best reach our current and possible customers. Here are the platforms we currently have.

  1. Facebook - Our name on Facebook is Mayhew Environmental Training Consultants. Our Facebook has the chat option to reach out and ask any quick questions you might have. We also post any and all updates there.
  2. Facebook in Spanish -  Our username for our Spanish Facebook is META Espanol 1986. We have a large Spanish population in our clientele so to be more inclusive and to keep communication open we created a Facebook page for our Spanish speaking clients. 
  3. Instagram - Our username on Instagram is META_Environmental. Just like our other platforms, Instagram is used to keep our clients up to date and informed. 
  4. Twitter - Our username on Twitter is METAEnvTraining. Our Twitter is full of information not only from us but other industry leaders.
  5. LinkedIn - Our username on LinkedIn is Mayhew Environmental Training Associates. Following our LinkedIn is a great way to keep up to-date with us and any changes within the company.

We encourage you to follow and like us on all available social media platforms. We can’t wait to make connections with you.

2022 EIA Conference

META is happy to announce that we will be attending this year’s Environmental Information Association’s annual conference. This is the first conference we have attended since before the start of the pandemic and we are so excited! Due to the pandemic the EIA is offering attendance both virtually and in-person! META will be attending in-person with a booth and educational materials. 

At the conference you will have the opportunity to chat with our founder, Brad Mayhew. Also in attendance will be our Office Manager, Rebecca Mayhew and our Online Training Manager, Connie Hu. All three of our representatives are experienced, knowledgeable professionals. They will answer any and all of your questions about META and our services, including consulting and our various types of training.

While at the conference we hope to spread the word of our consulting, training and technical services. We can’t wait to network with long-time colleagues and meet new friends . At our booth and exhibits, we will be handing out flyers that will have an exclusive discount for our self-paced online courses for all EIA attendants!

This year, the conference will take place from March 20 to March 23 in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference is going to be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Phoenix. On March 20, the conference is hosting a golf tournament to encourage networking and fun. The keynote presentation on March 21 will be given by the CDC and Arizona Department of Health. You don't want to miss it! The rest of the conference will consist of exhibits, round-tables, presentations, cocktail hours and more! The EIA conference gives environmental professionals the chance to network, keep up with regulations, education, technology and new trends. We would love to see you all there! Get tickets for both the virtual and in-person EIA conference here.