Heather Clay (Dodsworth, 1967)

While a student at MLC School, Heather Clay (Dodsworth, 1967) says she was fortunate to be taught chemistry by Dr Alice Whitley. Heather says it was Dr Whitley’s intelligence and love of science that inspired her to pursue a career in science.

Heather graduated from the University of Canberra with a BSc degree with a major in Ecological Conservation. After graduating, she used her microbiology and chemistry skills in several projects overseas. One was a dairy herd improvement project in southern Africa, helping to reduce mastitis in milking cows. Another was a clean coal project at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, Canada, researching the chemical desulphurization of coal.

During this time she was also a hobby beekeeper. This led to her being offered a position as Chief Apiculturist for New Brunswick, Canada. She was excited to put her apiculture and conservation skills to work with the honey bee industry. After 8 years working on honey bee issues in New Brunswick she accepted a position as CEO of the Canadian Honey Council (CHC). Such was her standing amongst Canadian apiarists that the industry joke was that CHC didn’t stand for Canadian Honey Council but rather ‘Call Heather Clay’.

Heather was instrumental in the reorganisation of the CHC and was also the Editor of ‘HiveLights’, the official magazine of the CHC, and was credited with raising the magazine’s standard.

Heather regularly spoke at international apiarists conferences. Australian colleagues recall that she was always approachable and always willing to help Australian beekeepers even when she was working for the promotion of Canadian beekeepers.

Having retiring from CHC at the end of 2010, Heather is now doing consulting work, and has initiated the Urban Bee Network, a new project to help small-scale beekeepers.