Hendersonville, NC, 7th City to Be Certified Bee City USA!

Picture(From L to R) Mac Brackett, Tom Fanslow, Kim Bailey, David Allen, Mary Jo Padgett, Geri Conley, and Samantha Derr celebrate after waiting 4 hours–through City Council’s lengthy agenda–for 10:00 pm unanimous vote for Bee City USA certification!

On May 7, Hendersonville [NC] City Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to become a Bee City USA at its monthly meeting. This completed the efforts of a number of organizations and individuals to accomplish the designation.  Mac Brackett, chair of the Hendersonville Tree Board, and Kim Bailey, a member of the Hendersonville Sustainability Board, made the presentation to Council members.  The Hendersonville Tree Board is the designated facilitating board for the new project.

Mayor Barbara Volk said, “Hendersonville’s City Council let it be known that we understand the importance of pollinators, and therefore want to make the town more pollinator-friendly. We are grateful to our Tree Board and the Environmental Sustainability Board for bringing the opportunity to our attention.”

During the process of application for the designation, a number of organizations were brought into the discussions, according to Bailey–Henderson County Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Beekeepers Association, Henderson County Environmental Programs Department, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, Bullington Gardens, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, and many others.  Henderson County Board of Commissioners approved a Letter of Support to accompany the application and resolution.

“Of the cities that have applied to date, your process was the most intentional and inclusive,” said Phyllis Stiles, founder and executive director of Bee City USA, headquartered in Asheville. “You are truly a model for other cities to follow.”

In the past six months, the Tree Board has planted 130 trees along Bearcat Loop, an entryway to Hendersonville Elementary and Middle Schools, and along Upward Road. Many of those are native flowering trees, which support pollinators. In addition, according to Public Works Director Tom Wooten, the City’s Oklawaha Greenway landscape plan has been designed to include plantings of approximately 500 native trees and more than an acre of flowering mix meadows. Hendersonville has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for 25 years.

Bailey, who was instrumental in completing the Bee City USA application, said, “Hendersonville is an ideal candidate for certification because there are already 11 habitats certified as Monarch Waystations at home gardens, schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations and on public lands across the county. In addition, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and other organizations have invested substantial time and resources planting native flowering species and eradicating non-native invasive species that crowd out our native nectar sources.”

A designated Bee City USA is expected to annually celebrate being a Bee City USA community with a proclamation and public awareness activities; publicly acknowledge commitment to the program through signage and web links; and annually report activities to Bee City USA to renew the designation.

The two City boards will host a planning meeting on Thursday, June 11, at 3 p.m. at the City Operations Center, 305 Williams St., to discuss with various partners ways to proceed with making Hendersonville even more pollinator-friendly.

For more information about the Bee City USA program visit www.beecityusa.org or email Director Phyllis Stiles at [email protected]. For more information about the Hendersonville program, contact Bailey at [email protected] or Mac Brackett, chair, Tree Board, at [email protected]

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