Bee City/Campus USA Affiliates Reflect on 2018

Wendy Harness, Facilities Management Administrative Assistant and Pollinator Alliance Team member, smiles as she ponders Delta College’s future bee trail.

Across the country, individuals and communities are realizing how vital it is to sustain pollinators. In honor of the Winter Solstice, a time of reflection, we asked Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA affiliates for their favorite pollinator conservation highlight from 2018.  Here are some of their responses.

Delta College, University Center, Michigan – Linda A. Petee, Sustainability & Risk Management Coordinator 
Delta College was honored to join Bee Campus USA this year as the first and only Michigan-certified campus! With the support of the campus community, our Pollinator Alliance Team designated a section of our natural area to develop as a bee habitat trail. We’re excited to plan plantings, interpretive signage, student club projects, community-learning activities, and tours.

Talent, Oregon – Dolly Warden, Chair, Bee City USA Talent Committee
The most gratifying experience Bee City USA Talent had this year occurred on the 5th of December when the Talent City Council unanimously approved the proposed Integrated Pest Management Report and Recommendation. We first began working on the goal of an Integrated Pest Management Policy in March of 2014, so it has been almost five years. Although many people are responsible for the final outcome, it was Jim Thompson’s persistence that saw it to the finish.

Garden City, Idaho – Judy Snow, Chair, Bee City USA – Garden City Committee
“The highlight of the year for me was visiting our pollinator garden and observing the hundreds (thousands?) of bees and other pollinators who showed up in only its second year. It was truly amazing to see the bees of all shapes and sizes, butterflies and hummingbirds visiting the flowers. We had leafcutter bees make their home in our bee boxes and observed solitary bee homes in the ground. It has proven to me that….If you build it, they will come!

San Francisco, California – Peter Brastow, Senior Environmental Specialist, Nature, Ecosystems and Biodiversity,  San Francisco Department of Environment​
In light of the ongoing insect apocalypse and the continuing racial and economic inequity in access to nature, we are working to meet both conservation and justice goals by piloting the installation of a local native plant landscape in a workforce development model at affordable housing sites in San Francisco.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio – Danielle Trevino, Biological Scientist
My most inspirational moment was from one of our smaller projects…a monarch waystation we planted with the children from the base youth center in the spring. The kids have taken such great care of it and now have a genuine interest the habitat and the many pollinators that call it home. It was such a small thing, but it is a reminder that big changes start with small steps.

Norcross, Georgia – Mike Brose, Sustainable Norcross Committee
When I received the signed resolution, I was happy to know that the City of Norcross is now beehav’n!

Carrboro, North Carolina – Laura Janway, Environmental Planner
As a new member of Carrboro Town staff, I was excited to see the Town and community’s commitment to pollinators through current and future pollinator gardens, installations of native bee nesting boxes, and educational outreach. I am inspired by the dedication from Bee Cities across the country and hope to keep up the momentum in 2019.” 

Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia – Jennifer Kraft Leavey, Ph.D., Principal Academic Professional, College of Sciences
My favorite urban pollinator-related moment of the year was getting a call about a “swarm” of bees on an island of grass in the middle of a giant parking lot on the campus of Georgia Tech in downtown Atlanta. When I got there the island was covered in mining bee nests that look like little ant hills. Just above there were a cloud of these precious solitary bees working on creating the next generation of mining bees.  By the next week you couldn’t even tell they had been there.” 

Hillsborough , North Carolina – Stephanie Trueblood, Public Space Manager
My favorite pollinator moment this year was the day when the swallowtail caterpillars showed up on our bronze fennel. I had heard from friends that they had arrived but our plants were empty. My kids and I checked our garden every day for more than a week and then SURPRISE, one morning we found 10 happy fat caterpillars munching away. We were thrilled.:)

Photo: City of Orland. Bee display at Glenn County Fair.

Orland, California – Pete Carr, City Manager
Our OktoBEEfest drew 200 people and netted $5400 for the Bee city committee to spend on education and outreach. The Glenn County Fair 2018 theme was “What’s all the Buzz about?” The c
ity is purchasing real property as the future site of Honeybee Discovery Center.

Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington – Chuck Faulkinberry, Director, Hemmingson Center, GUEST, Auxiliary Enterprises 
This fall we held our now annual harvest and wintering event. We brought in a hand cranked extractor and let each student take a turn that was in attendance. Much like when I was little when we made ice cream on my grandfather’s porch in the summer. Each student was eager to crank and felt some ownership in the extraction. It is a great way to get students involved and everyone walked away with a small honey bear for their efforts.

Photo: Dickinson College

Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania – Cody Rosenbarker, Sustainability Learning Coordinator 
The Center for Sustainability Education hosted an event where students brought in our native bee homes for the winter. We found mason bees and leaf-cutter bees had used our homes as well as some that we couldn’t identify. Although it seems like the mason bees had already been parasitized, we’re looking forward to putting them all out in the spring and see what comes out to pollinate our gardens!

Central Community College, Grand Island, Nebraska – Ben Newton, Environmental Sustainability Director
Organizing our First Annual Pollinator Festival brought in a diverse mix of dedicated insect and native plant fans that I previously did not know existed! We even had a band that were also beekeepers playing at the festival while young children enjoyed honey ice cream. Our first full season of a new pollinator garden on campus was worth all the sweat and pain of pulling sand burrs by staff and students!

Denton, Texas – Sarah Luxton, Sustainability Coordinator
It’s exciting to see the younger generations get enthusiastic about pollinators and take action to support them in their community. These young beekeepers and gardens can be an inspiration to us all!

Phoenix, Oregon – Sharon Schmidt, Psy.D., Cascade Girl Organization
We created a 2,000 square foot mural in Phoenix, Oregon over the course of 36 months. It is across from a popular fast-food restaurant and has little embedded signs that say ‘grow organic’.  Thousands of visitors look at it daily and it raises people’s awareness of Pollinators and organic produce (inner smile!).

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Anita Amstutz, Think Like a Bee
Poet Saeed Jones expressed it well for me, ‘It’s increasingly difficult for me to vibe with people—even keen, talented people—who are salty about everything all the time. Gotta have some sweetness in this life. I believe in the intelligence of honey.’

Carson City, Nevada – Gillian Mellor, Chair, Bee City USA – Carson City Committee
After many happy days collecting nectar and pollen, We have safely tucked our families in their hives for their well deserved rest. Greeting them again in the new year – we are able also to rest.

Pine Lake, Georgia – Elise Witt, Member, Bee City USA – Pine Lake Committee
I loved having my song, “Bees Make Honey,” sung to celebrate our Bee City certification in Pine Lake!

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