Kelly Alley

Well, here we are. We finally made it to the end of the semester and to the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Amazing job, all of you. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point – only a few little tests or essays left over the next two weeks and you’ll be done. Soon you’ll have sweet, sweet freedom from imposing deadlines, research essays and those dreaded group projects.

It also means the end of the first year of this column. I’ve talked about a lot of unusual things over the past 30-plus columns: food, time travel, driving, umbrellas, Yo-Yo Man and Appalachian culture, just to name a few.

Surprisingly, I never once mentioned bees. Nope, not at all – not one mention of the insect in over 17,000 words. Which is kind of a shame, since I have a bit of a soft spot for those little critters, especially honeybees.

Maybe it’s because the thought never occurred to me, or maybe I was waiting for the right moment. I think it was the latter, because our wonderful little campus is now bee certified.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a big grin on my face when I heard the news. Granted, I get excited when I hear any good news about bees, but good bee news on campus is certainly something to celebrate.

What’s all the buzz about? you might ask. Well, from what I understand, the office of sustainability is trying to educate students on campus about these wonderful little pollinators.

It’s for good reason too, as bees are at risk of extinction thanks to our follies with pesticides and single-crop farming practices, among other things. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I believe that pollinator education serves as that ounce of prevention.

As someone who has helped with bees and finds them worth protecting, I was ecstatic to learn about the university’s new distinction. That said, don’t be surprised if you see me sauntering around campus in my beekeeper’s suit from here on out.

I hope this is something that will eventually garner as much attention as events like Sex Week or Volapalooza. We owe it to the bees.

I also hope one day we’ll have a small university-affiliated apiary on campus, for both educational purposes and to give students a chance take a break from studies and learn a new skill. Looking at our present facilities, I’d say we’re past due for a new building for pollinator research. Besides, “Volunteer Beekeepers” has a sweet ring to it, don’t you think?

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for the semester, so I’ll buzz off now. Enjoy the summer and all it has to offer – including bees.

Kelly Alley is a junior studying Journalism and Electronic Media. She can be reached at kalley2@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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