JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University (ETSU) students and interested members of the public will get the opportunity to learn about the wild world of beekeeping this summer thanks to a new course offered by the school’s Appalachian Studies program.

Beekeeping in Appalachia is offered for 2023’s summer session and will be taught by history professor and licensed beekeeper Jody Bryant. Her journey with beekeeping began at an early age after getting experience with a friend’s hives.

“I’ve always had an interest in it, but I really got started after I got cancer the first time,” Bryant said. “And it was just a kind of calming effect.”

Bryant has spent a decade keeping hives in one form or another and is up to 10 in her personal care. As a researcher of local culture and history, Bryant said beekeeping ties in well to the region.

“Beekeeping is something that we need to keep alive,” Bryant said. “Obviously, bees keep us alive, so I think we need to do the same for them. It makes a cohesive culture, I think, and it puts me in the mind of a lot of what we have here in Appalachian Studies.

“We have a very cohesive department, we all work as a well-oiled machine and the bees work the same way in the hive.”

Students will receive a wide variety of instruction on beekeeping, from history and hive maintenance to the legal side of business operation and certification.

“I’m going to go the gamut with it, I’m going to cram as much as I possibly can in with the short amount of time that we have in the late summer class,” Bryant said. “So hopefully it’ll go a little bit further from there and we can build on it.”

To enroll in summer courses with ETSU, you can visit their website and browse the course catalog. Members of the public will have to audit the course for no credit, but enrolled students will receive three credit hours.