Bee Friendly Beekeeping club sells honey on campus


by Emma Seli ('23)

Beekeeping club sells honey

With bee populations steadily declining, JMU’s Bee Friendly Beekeeping Club is supporting these essential pollinators by nurturing hives on the East Campus Hillside.

Founded in 2017 and reorganized in 2021-22, the 66-member student-run club, advised by Integrated Science and Technology professor Wayne Teel, monitors two buzzing colonies, engages in student outreach and sells pure honey on campus – the sweet fruits of their labor.  

“It seemed like something that really aligned with me,” said Holly Wagely, club president, who has been beekeeping since childhood.

Madison Schjoth, club treasurer, also grew up around bees thanks to her dad, a beekeeper for years. “I was immediately hooked,” she said about her first club meeting after transferring to JMU.

Zach Fox, vice president, and Matthew Engel, secretary, complete the leadership team.

The bees make their honey in the frames of the beehive. Schjoth says they carefully remove the pure honeycomb frames and transport them to an offsite honey extractor, as JMU doesn’t have this equipment on campus. The students bring the raw honeycomb to Charlottesville, where ISAT alumna and professional beekeeper Allison Wickham assists with further processing. The frames are loaded into the extractor that centrifuges the honey, then put into a sterilized bucket and bottled for consumption.


At a recent campus honey sale, 74 jars sold at $6 each. “We made a lot of sales, and we are very excited to be selling our honey,” Schjoth said. “And it’s delicious!”

The club held a sale in November so people could buy honey for their families for the holidays. Proceeds from the sales will be used to expand the club, acquire more equipment and work with Wickham. They hope to donate to environmental charities in the future.

The club also participates in outreach events, such as Harvestfest hosted by the Arboretum, collaborates with JMU clubs and organizations like Give Volunteers, the Environmental Management Club, and Food for Thought, and hosts activities, including hikes and potlucks.  

JMU is a member of Bee Campus USA, which raises awareness of pollinators and creating sustainable habitats for them.

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Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Last Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2024

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