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Meet The Retreat Co-Creators

Founder, Facilitator, Instructor & Bee Guardian

Jen Rasmussen Lair
Jen Rasmussen Lair, owner of Paradise Nectar Apiaries LLC.

Jen Rasmussen Lair, an accomplished entrepreneur and passionate advocate for honeybees, is the proud owner and founder of Paradise Nectar Apiaries.  Since its inception in 2008, Jen has guided the company towards great heights, establishing it as a leading and trusted name in the beekeeping industry.  

With a deep love for nature and a keen interest in bees, Jen's journey into the world of apiculture began as a humble backyard endeavor.  Fascinated by the intricate workings of bee colonies and the magical alchemy of honey production, she dedicated herself to learning and mastering the craft. 

Driven by her commitment to sustainable and ethical beekeeping practices, Jen built Paradise Nectar Apiaries on foundations of environmental stewardship and bee-friendly methods.  Her unwavering belief in the importance of these principles has earned her recognition and respect within the industry.  

Under Jen's leadership, Paradise Nectar Apiaries has flourished, expanding its reach and honing its expertise in beekeeping.  Nestled amidst lush landscapes, her apiaries are carefully maintained havens for bees, allowing them to thrive and provide the highest quality honey and beeswax.  

Jen's vision extends beyond delivering exceptional bee products, she aims to educate and raise awareness about the vital role honeybees play in our ecosystem.  Through workshops, seminars, and outreach programs, she actively shares her knowledge, inspiring others to become beekeepers and become advocates for the precious pollinators.  

As an entrepreneur with deep-rooted connection to nature, Jen Rasmussen Lair continues to dedicate herself to the well-being of honeybees and the promotion  of sustainable practices.  Her commitment to preserving the delicate harmony between bees and the environment is the cornerstone of Paradise Nectar Apiaries' success.  With a blend of expertise, innovation, and unwavering passion, Jen remains at the forefront of the beekeeping community, leaving a sweet imprint on both the industry and the wider natural world. 

Instructor & Facilitator

John Lair
John Lair

John Lair is a highly skilled individual with a diverse range of expertise, including being a carpenter, small-scale farmer, beekeeper, and manager of the esteemed Hawaii Tropical Fish Gardens.  His passion for sustainable living and dedication to fostering food sovereignty have made him a respected figure in the agricultural community.  


As a skilled carpenter, John possesses an innate ability to transform ordinary pieces of wood into practical and beautiful structures.  Whether constructing sturdy beehives, crafting custom-made furniture, or designing innovative farm infrastructure, his craftsmanship leaves a lasting impression.  

John's small-scale farming endeavors demonstrate his profound understanding of regenerative agriculture techniques. John's commitment to sustainable farming extends beyond his own land; he actively shares his knowledge with the local community, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps.  

In his capacity as the manager of Hawaii Tropical Fish Gardens, John overseas the operations of the renowned institution.  Upholding the highest standards for fish care, he has transformed the gardens into a paradise for aquatic life enthusiasts.  

Recognizing the significance of seed saving and food sovereignty, John has taken on the role of a teacher and advocate.  By sharing his expertise and empowering others with the skills to save and preserve seeds, he empowers communities to become self-sufficient in their food production.  

John Lair's multifaceted journey as a carpenter, small-scale farmer, beekeeper, and manager has shaped him into a visionary leader, prioritizing sustainability and fostering self-reliance.  

Jenny Bach ~ Honey Bee Education Program & the Wise Women Beekeeping Retreat

        Jenny Bach

Jenny, beekeeper of over 16 years and teacher for nearly two decades, has devoted her life to the sacred practices of keeping bees. Jenny has studied shamanic and ancient beekeeping in Europe and Africa and has cultivated her beekeeping training around using intuition, magic and ceremony.   Jenny Bach is a teacher and founder of our Wise Women Beekeeping Retreat. 


Jenny has been a certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher since 2009.  "Kundalini yoga brought a deep healing into my life. I love how we as humans can relate and build our magnetic field while developing a practice for health and wellbeing through this practice of yoga.  This yoga practice has a profound effect on our bodies, mind and spirit".

  Born and raised in Hawaii, she offers a unique experience and perspective through-out her training programs and courses. Owner of Bee Love Apiaries and Founder of the Honeybee Education Program, she has built a robust and vibrant Non Profit program that supports the well being of local honeybees and pollinators through advocacy and education. 


The Honeybee Education Program educates over 2000 youth and adults annually by offering hands-on workshops, builds community gardens, creates apiaries (bee yards) in local schools and trains farmers, youth students and community members to become beekeepers and create healthy pollinator habitat.

Massage Therapist

Melissa Cardwell
Melissa Cardwell

Melissa has been a licensed massage therapist since 2005 and has owned a massage studio since 2007.

She considers herself an on-going student and offers a wide-range of modalities including Deep Tissue, Lomi Lomi, Hawaiian Hot Stones Massage (Pohaku Wela), and Pre-Natal Massage.


Melissa has also received her Level I in Reiki. Though she has experience in the spa industry, her passion is therapeutic massage and assisting people in improving the quality of their lives.

Melissa strongly believes in having an unconditional regard for her clients and seeks to support them by drawing from her deep well of knowledge and compassion. Every session is unique and based on an individual’s particular and distinct needs. 

(Find out more about her business here:

Massage Therapist

Gabriel Holt
Gabriel Holt

Gabriel Holt is a highly skilled and experienced Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) based on Big Island.  With over 12 years of practice, Gabriel has honed his expertise in deep tissue massage, offering clients exceptional relief and healing through his therapeutic touch.  

Drawing from a diverse range of massage techniques, Gabriel combines the soothing techniques of Swedish  massage with the ancient Hawaiian healing art of Lomi Lomi.  This unique fusion creates a transformative and deeply relaxing experience for his clients, addressing both the physical tension and the emotional stress.  

Beyond his passion for massage therapy, Gabriel is an avid agricultural enthusiast and a compassionate healer who infuses his sessions with genuine care and personalized attention.  Gabriel's expert touch and intuitive nature will guide you towards your wellness goals, leaving you feeling revitalized and restored. 

Chef ~ Caterer
      Lydia Kindheart

Lydia Kindheart

Born in Paris, France – Lydia spent much of her youth exploring a holistic lifestyle of yoga, herbs and vegetarianism.

In 1991, Lydia gave birth to her daughter Sonya, one of the inspirations and great joys of her life. Continuing to experiment with food dehydration at her restaurant and festivals between California and Maui, Lydia, a gypsy at heart, settled in California to launch her first food dehydration company. Following her passion of nurturing people through food and wanting to make a difference in the world, Lydia opened a small raw food deli in Fairfax, California in 1996 with the intention of offering food that was consciously selected and prepared with love.

Through her brands of food, festival and private catering, restaurants, and community work, Lydia became a forerunner in the Organic, Vegan, and Raw food industries. In continuing to fulfill her vision of creating community gathering space to share food, knowledge and creativity. Lydia opened the Sunflower Center, a restaurant and community center in Petaluma, California in December 2011, closed in 2014. The Center was a thriving space for local and small businesses, farmers, artists, musicians, healers and the community at large to mingle, develop relationships and share stories, projects and inspiration. It was a place for children to play, explore, learn and develop a love for the planet. And of course, it is a hot spot for organic, nourishing and whole foods served fresh every day. With live music jams, monthly community juice cleanses, vegan meet-ups and many other groups, classes and circles happening at The Center, Lydia was successfully living her dreams of offering conscious food as a powerful and personal medium for reconnecting people and the planet.

She now continues to offer her nourishing food through her website, catering & other events.

Yoga Instructor

Megan Cannon
Megan Cannon

Megan is an advocate coach for women’s health and empowerment, conscious communication and sacred ritual arts. With over 20 years of experience in leading Movement-based Spiritual Practice, Megan blends her passion for dance and yoga into an embodied ecstatic Vinyasa flow.

To Megan Cannon, Life and the Healing Arts are inseparable. Nothing is more exciting and fulfilling than living holistically. Megan began her journey as a Yogini 25 years ago while earning a Special Education degree from Western Washington University. She had the privilege of learning from several of the Northwest’s most honored Masters.

Megan is greatly inspired by the classical Iyengar tradition of Yoga asana which is deeply rooted in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.  She has been teaching for 19 years and had the honor and challenge of studying in Puna, India for 3 months with BKS, the founder, his family and senior teachers. On top of teaching the classical and properly aligned asana.


Megan spends much of her time co-facilitating Yoga Teacher Trainings in Hawaii, Bali and south India. When she isn’t traveling, she wakes each day on the enchanting Big Island of Hawaii and absorbs with every breath the organic local essence of one of Mother Nature’s miracles. Here she co-founded a popular Waldorf based charter school.


From Megan:

“Being a Waldorf educator and student of Rudolph Steiner, I realize that this second awakening that Humanity is now going through is one of the Christed Heart. Through deep listening, daily prayer, breath and movement practice, I am dedicated to holding the frequency for Women to come together aligned with their Soul purpose in sacred community.”

      Callie & Tony Matulonis

Callie & Tony Matulonis

Callie and Tony will be sharing their passion for the Universe in a one hour “Talk Starry” session the evening of February 6th, from 7:30-8:30pm. Together for nearly 20 years, this couple has a combined 40 years of experience working on Maunakea. Currently both telescope operators at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, Callie and Tony will be your tour guides to the stars! While they share Greek and Hawaiian mythological stories of the constellations, take a peek through their amateur telescope at planets, galaxies, and nebulas! Ask all of your astronomical questions or just relax under the Milky Way as they point out interesting celestial objects with their laser pointer. Callie and Tony will be sharing their passion for homebrewing in a one hour “Test Your Tastebuds” session on February 6th, from 6:15-7:15 pm. Certified beer judges through the BJCP, Callie and Tony have been home brewing award-winning mead and beer for over 15 years and have judged in numerous home-brew competitions across the state of Hawai'i and California. Get a crash course in the home brewing basics, explore ingredients and equipment needed for brewing, and then put your palette to the test with a sampling session of locally made beers, meads, and ciders.

      Mary McCallum & Rich Selden

Mary McCallum & Rich Selden

Mary & Rich reside on Washoe land in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where they have been homesteading for the last 4 years and have enjoyed every minute of the grief and joy in tending the land they call home.  They currently live in a tiny house and are building their home. They share the land with their 12-year-old son Ram, 3 livestock guardian dogs, 2 cats, ducks and honeybees.

Mary is a clinical herbalist and makes small batch herbal medicines and runs her business Sierra Roots Wellness.   The Sierras are Mary's birthplace and one of her greatest teachers. After a decade of health concerns of her own, she was led to begin her work as a herbalist. She was called back to nature, and through her re -connection to the earth and its beings, she found herself in an endless connection to the land and its beings.  Mary honors the earth, her family, her ancestors and her teachers, the plants, animals and honeybees for helping to guide her to be on this path.

"I choose to walk the plant path with integrity to live in a reciprocal way in each way I operate my business. I practice here in the Sierras as a clinical herbalist, where much of my work is dedicated to connecting with the land and making medicine for the people. I also enjoy teaching classes here locally in the greater area; and working with clients one on one for wellness consultations. I love working with clients and supporting people through working with plant medicines, nutrition and alternative ways of living."

We are delighted to have Mary offer an herbal medicine class during this retreat!

Check out Mary's amazing creations at Sierra Roots Wellness.

Rich currently spends time on the land with his family as much as he can. He works at the local Food hub where he delivers local produce and goods to the community in a 200-mile radius.   As a former restaurant owner, Rich is passionate about local food getting in the hands and bellies of local families. He recently got his real estate license in the state of California; and approaches his work with a heart-led focus on helping folks find their homes and settle onto land in a good way. 


Since bringing honeybees to their land, the bees have captivated Rich's attention through their innate ways of bee-ing!  "It's been beautiful to watch them settle into home here and get to know them by meditating next to their hives and trying to fully "listen" to what it is they have to say. They are some of the most intelligent and interesting creatures I have had the pleasure to get to know and look forward to continuing to grow in relationship with them." 


Rich has always enjoyed traveling, and connecting to new places and spaces; and looks forward to meeting all of you at the retreat in February. "This seems like a great time for us to all connect to each other as couples and grow with the bees." 

Chef Assistant Position

Now Hiring! 

Chef Assistant for Couples Retreat

Services offered by the Chef Assistant include:

  • Prepping Meals

  • Setting and bussing tables

  • Cleaning up dining and kitchen areas

  • Assisting Chef Lydia as needed

The offerings received by the Chef Assistant include:

  • $360 ~ $15/hr payment~ $60/day for 6 days.

  • Participation in some retreat activities & pool/tub access

Chef Assistant Application

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