March 12, 2010
19-046

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

The Latest Buzz at Continuing Education

VALDOSTA -- VSU's Center for Continuing Education is known for offering a range of pragmatic -- and sometimes offbeat -- classes for people seeking personal and professional enrichment. Jazz Funk dance classes often tap on down the hall from intense teacher certification courses, and real estate investment seminars carry on alongside food safety instruction. But fall 2009 marked a stinging addition to the roster -- Introduction to Beekeeping, a popular course that shows no sign of buzzing off.

VSU's first class about handling bees, taught by local beekeeper John Avera, explored the world of bees -- among the most beneficial insects that pollinate more than 30 of Georgia's crops, including apples, watermelons and squash. The introductory course taught students how to work, manage, and handle bees to maintain a healthy hive for honey production. During each class period, students observed the development of a bee hive Avera established alongside the Continuing Ed. Building, 903 N. Patterson St.

Dr. Mary Mathias, an optometrist in Moultrie, enrolled in the course "to feel like a student again." Members of the class, Mathias said, became one big family as they cared for the apiary and learned about the history and importance of bees.

"Each week we evaluated the progress of the hive (we set up) and saw, first-hand, bee behavior. We were all so excited when we saw the queen bee for the first time. I know I was,"� Mathias said. "One of the highlights of the class was when the teacher brought in honey from his own hives, which we all sampled; and another evening, a student brought in pollen from his hive."

Beekeeping among the many professional development and personal enrichment courses offered through the center. Master Your Memory, Romance Writing Secrets, and Stained Glass Art are just a few of the eccentric options for people to explore themselves with classmates after work or online. Professional offerings include Grant Writing, Conversational French and End of Life Care.

Courses, which start as low as $12, are open to registration without acceptance to Valdosta State University. For online registration or for more information, go to www.valdosta.edu/conted/ or call 229-245-6484.