Robert Alten started his childhood in the smog dense air of southern California,
then moved to a small coastal town in Oregon. The contrast left a big impression.
He began a degree in engineering but decided to let go of sitting behind a
computer in favor of being active in the contracting trades. He started his first
contracting company in Portland and has not stopped in his pursuit of excellence,
integrity, and entrepreneurial spirit.
Robert's love of family had him settle into the foothills of the beautiful Sierras
where he has spent the last 30 years. He still owns a successful contracting
company and has not slowed in his love of the outdoors and all that nature has to
His friendship with Ray, the founder of the organization, began a quest to find
ways to support and empower the vision of creating an environment more
friendly to bees.
"Bees are our 'canary in the coal mine.' Their decline is our warning that we need
to make changes or suffer mightily. There are simple ways we can all make a
Robert and our Bee Booth, Sept. 2020
Laurie Yarborough has lived in Reno for over 40 yrs, coming from Pittsburgh, Pa. She and her husband own Sierra Service Stations and USAFleetSolutions.
Laurie is the Secretary of the Biggest Little Bee City USA committee as well as the Secretary for Help Save the Bees Foundation and is a long time bee lover and supporter of organic gardening. She and her daughter are beginning beekeepers and love making honey and beeswax inspired products.
Laurie is also a Birth Doula and Reiki Practitioner as well as an extensive reader and researcher of energy healing, holistic health and wellness as well as researching bees and bee health.
Ray Hopper has been keeping bees off and on since 1982. He says that in those days, beekeeping was much easier, with the biggest threat to bees being a bacterial disease called American Foulbrood. With a reasonable amount of vigilance, only occasional colony losses were encountered.
Since then, new pesticides, new diseases, and diminishing forage are all taking their toll on the bees. Over the past 30 years or so, beekeepers across the nation have experience an average of 30% losses every year. The 2018 season suffered 40% bee colony loss nationwide!
Hopper says that humans, honey bees and plants co-evolved over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, developing a kind of three way inter-dependency. Plants and food crops depend on the bees for pollination; humans and bees both depend on plants for food; and the bees have now come to depend on human management to thrive. And, because the planet is still evolving, climate change, vanishing bee forage acreage and other dynamics means we humans need to strengthen our relationship with the bees, to ensure the continued availability of our favorite and most nourishing and favorite foods.
Ray now considers himself a hobbyist beekeeper, with just a couple beehives in his backyard. Yet his passion for bees has inspired him to dedicate his life to help the plight of the bee. He sees a future where the inter-dependency of humans, plants and honey bees flourishes worldwide.
Hopper is a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the US Air Force from 1968 to 1972.
David Duffié is an entrepreneur and world adventurer who aspires to help make the planet a better place.
David was raised in New Jersey. After earning his Electrical Engineering degree from Virginia Tech in 1984, he became an early pioneer in the fiber optic industry. As an entrepreneur in San Diego he created several telecom-related start-up companies and was awarded two patents. He also became involved in underwater hockey tournaments and sand sculpting festivals, working on many large sculpting projects throughout the US and Europe.
David enjoyed world travels and decided to make Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Nevada, his home in 2000. David quickly embraced the natural beauty of this Sierra playground, appreciating the numerous Tahoe lifestyle activities including backpacking, mountain biking, kayaking and skiing/snowboarding. He also enjoys artistic pursuits playing bass in a jazz/funk/rock band, snow/sand sculpting, and photography. David is currently a Real Estate Professional with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty, where he helps both buyers and sellers realize their dreams and goals. In 2011 he helped create, design and raise funds for the public Disc Golf Course in Incline Village.
David has continued to be involved with local entrepreneurs on renewable energy and food sustainability projects and startups, where he first met Ray Hopper. Through Ray’s passion for bees and beekeeping, David has gained a renewed appreciation of bees by helping Ray with his beekeeping processes. David is honored to assist Ray, the bees, and others who want to help as a Director for the non-profit, HelpSaveTheBeesFoundation.org.
Although Dan is a Reno native, his love for honeybees evolved while spending summers on his grandparent’s farm in Southern Oregon. It was a great place and time for a young boy made even more special by the full-time beekeeper and his two beautiful daughters living right next door. Okay, so maybe it was more about the girls than the bees at that time, but those experiences left Dan with a sense of advocacy towards bees that has only grown with time.
Today Dan keeps 2 - 4 hives in his SW Reno backyard where he regularly conducts beekeeping demonstrations in addition to harvesting the honey his friends and family enjoy all year long.
“Due to their short life-span and close proximity to people, bees are a strong indicator of the collective stewardship humans offer the planet.” “Today, the future is looking gloomy for wild/native and managed honeybees alike, the Help Save The Bees Foundation hopes to improve that future with a combination of education and activism.”
Dan at Mt. Rose
Eleanor Yarborough is honored to join the amazing team of Help Save the Bees Foundation. With the help of so many, she launched a new initiative to build a social media brand and bring awareness and education to the public on a whole new platform. She led the “Buy Local Honey” campaign seen in September (National Honey Month), and is excited to continue this work in promoting and inspiring.
When not obsessing over pollinators, Elle is an emerging theatre artist and trains daily in voice, dance, and acting. Can’t wait to see what comes next!