About Me

I was born in Harlan County, KY, on March 21, 1968. My parents taught history and English; both maternal and paternal grandparents kept bees on their properties in eastern KY. All of these interests coalesce in my research and vision for a world in which there is, to quote J.R.R. Tolkien, "hope without guarantees."

When I was ten, my parents moved to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  The stark Badlands and their nuanced shadows continue to serve as my aesthetic ideal when writing.

I received a B.A. from Berea College, an M.A. from Ft. Hays State, and finished a Ph.D. in Modernism at the University of Alabama in 1997.  This was the same year that my grandfather introduced me to his bees.  The real education began.

For three years, I taught at the University of West Alabama, returning to KY to help my grandfather with his bees.  In 2000, I stayed in KY to teach at Eastern Kentucky University and in 2002, transferred to teach at Berea College.

In 2005, Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped A Nation was published by the University Press of Kentucky.  In 2006, I was named the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College.  My research from that year has resulted in a pilot project focusing on the relationship between coal mine reclamation sites and honey bees.

Awards

Grants

The following agencies have provided support for the mission of Coal Country Beeworks, i.e., landscape diversity is the key to economic diversity.

Events

Please note these events are tentative and subject to cancellation due to weather.

  • Jan. 4-10, 2016: American Beekeeping Federation-Apiary Inspectors of America joint conference, Sawgrass, Florida.  
  • Jan. 22-23, 2016:  Eastern KY Winter Bee School, Hazard KY.  Pre-registration will be $20 for adults and $10 for High School or Grade School students.  Registration at the door will be $25 and $15.  Keynote speaker: Dr. Ricardo Bessin (University of Kentucky Entomology and Kentucky Integrated Pest Management Coordinator).   Please send checks to the following address:  Perry County Cooperative ExtensionOffice, 933 Perry Park Rd. Hazard, KY 41701-5322 Phone: (606) 436-2044 Questions can be addressed to Charles May, cmay@uky.edu
  • Feb. 8, 2016: Bell County Beekeepers Association.  Pineville, KY
  • Feb. 20, 2016: McCreary Central High School, Stearns KY .  Registration: $15 pre registration, $20 at the door, and this includes refreshments and lunch.  For more information or send pre-registration checks, send to attention of Greg Whitis, McCreary County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. PO Box 278, Whitley City, KY 42653. 606-376-2524. gwhitis@uky.edu
  • Feb. 27, 2016: Northeastern KY Bee School, hosted by the Licking River Beekeeping Association. Registration opens at 7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. School begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m.  Guest speaker: Dr. John Strang, University of Kentucky Horticulture Professor.  Pre-registration is $20.00 for adults, $25 at the door.  Children are $7.50 regardless.  Price includes lunch and refreshments.  For more information, please contact Bobby Fore, ATTN: Beekeeping School, 1338 Stevens Road, Owingsville, KY 40360.  Please make checks payable to LRBA.
  • Mar. 4-5, 2016: Organic Association of Kentucky, Paroquet Springs Convention Center, Shepherdsville, KY.
  • Mar. 12, 2016: Bluegrass Beekeepers School.  KY State University.  Frankfort, KY 40601.
  • Mar. 15, 2016: Vegetation Management Conference, Lexington, KY 
  • Mar. 22, 2016: Lake Cumberland Beekeepers Association, Somerset, KY
  • Mar. 29-Apr. 1: Green Forests Work events, Daniel Boone National Forest.
  • Apr. 2, 2016: Eastern KY Seed Swap, Pikeville, KY
  • Apr. 4, 2016: Pike County Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 11, 2016: Grant County Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 14, 2016: Big South Fork Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 19, 2016: Woodford County Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 21, 2016: Pine Mountain Beekeepers Workshop
  • Jul. 1, 2016: Deadline to enter honey, beeswax, honey culinary items in the Kentucky State Fair. 
  • Jul. 14-16, 2016: Heartland Apiculture Society.  Bowling Green, KY. 
  • Jul. 16, 2016: Kentucky State Beekeepers Association Summer Meet, Bowling Green (joint event with Heartland Apiculture Society)
  • Jul. 25-29, 2016: Eastern Apicultural Society conference, Galloway, New Jersey.

Please call (502) 229-2950 for more information about events.