Jessica Dodds is a native of Wilson County and has developed a passion for bees! Jessica’s interest in beekeeping began with a trip to the Wilson County Fair…Jessica has won multiple ribbons at the Fair in the past displaying her art, her dogs, and her famous carrot cake, but it was an incidental encounter with honey bees at the fair that led her to her new‐found passion.
Jessica began her work with honey bees in 2014 with two hives, and even though she suffered from stings and allergies, she has persisted and today she cultivates 10 hives. She is a member of the Tennessee and Wilson County Beekeepers Associations, and in 2015 Jessica was awarded a beekeeping scholarship from the Wilson County association.
Jessica also has a passion for saving wild bees and has been instrumental in catching and saving over 20 wild swarms, leading to her being recognized by the Wilson County Commissioner’s Office for her volunteer work in the ‘Great Bee Escape’ – when a tractor‐trailer carrying multiple hives overturned in Mount Juliet, Jessica assisted in the safe retrieval of the swarms that ensued. Jessica also is passionate about spreading the word of the plight of the honey bee and educating our youth and others through venues provided at local farm day events or opportunities to work with gardening events at historic Fiddler’s Grove. She has taken her message to a group of second graders and she is also sparking a love of beekeeping within her own family. Jessica is always willing to spread the message and wonder of beekeeping.
In researching resources available to educate and assist youngsters with an interest in beekeeping, such as school or summer camp programs, Jessica found them seriously lacking, which prompted her to launch the non‐profit Honeybee Tennessee. Jessica hopes to enlighten the next generation and others and cultivate a love and understanding of the importance of beekeeping. The mission of Honeybee Tennessee is to “conserve and save our bees by educating the public on their importance through our programs”. Jessica stated, “I never really thought I would start a non‐profit organization, but I have been blessed with the support that I have received.”
Taking her passion further, Jessica has proposed a bill for a “Save the Bees” specialty license plate for Tennessee residents. “Tennessee has some wonderful specialty license plate tags benefiting multiple organizations. I thought the honeybees deserved one too!”