Only having been certified a Bee City USA community on May 7, Hendersonville, North Carolina, has already installed 5 Bee City USA signs below its Tree City USA signs. This is no coincidence.
In Hendersonville's home in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, honeybees make most of their honey from trees, due to biologically diverse forests rich in basswood, tulip poplar, black locust, and sourwood trees, to name a few.
In crafting the Bee City USA concept, our steering committee considered Tree City USA an apt model because of how effective the program has been at garnering citizen and city staff support for maintaining a healthy urban canopy. Both that kind of community buy-in AND the urban canopy are vital to sustaining pollinators.
Now Hendersonville's Tree Board, the committee designated to facilitate the community's Bee City USA activities, wants to update their "Species List For Street Trees and Land Development Projects" to either include a section about trees of high value to pollinators or possibly color code pollinator friendly trees within each of the existing categories.
Thanks to the Tree Board, the Environmental Sustainability Board, and the Public Works Department for their vision and commitment to collaboration on behalf of pollinators!
Bee City USA Certified Cities created with eSpatial mapping software.
Seattle's City Council voted unanimously today to become a certified Bee City USA community, bringing the total number of certified cities to eight! This followed their vote on September 23, 2014 to prohibit use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides on all city-owned and operated land, as this class of pesticide is linked with harm to critical pollinating insects, like bees. The Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Center, Finance and Administrative Services, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Libraries all made the recommendation to eliminate the use of neonicotinoids at City facilities.
Bob Redmond, owner of the Urban Bee Company and executive director of The Common Acre, which was instrumental in bringing pollinator habitat and art to Sea-Tac airport (the "Flight Path" project), was also instrumental in building a coalition over the past two years in support of Bee City USA certification.
Many thanks to Bob Redmond, Seattle City Council, Seattle City Light, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and the countless other pollinator advocates in Seattle for their passion and vision!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Hendersonville program, contact Bailey at email@example.com or Mac Brackett, chair, Tree Board, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bring a friend and join us for this important workshop on Friday, April 24, the second in a 4-part series presented by the Asheville Alternatives to Pesticides Coalition.
6:00-6:30 Light refreshments
36 Montford Avenue, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Many thanks to Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies, HomeGrown, Green Sage, Catawba Brewing and Roots Hummus for generously providing the location and refreshments.
Applicants wanted! Bee City USA has teamed up with Asheville GreenWorks to hire a Project Conserve AmeriCorps Pollinator Project Outreach Coordinator to serve Asheville and Buncombe County, NC. The deadline for applying is May 22.
First Home Depot required nurseries to label plants treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, and now Lowe's has made a commitment to phasing out sales of products that contain them.
According to Lowe’s 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report: Lowe’s is committed to regularly reviewing the products and information they offer customers and they’re taking the following actions to support pollinator health:
Thanks to Friends of the Earth U.S., the Center for Food Safety, and all the individuals that sent emails, posted on social media, and rallied in front of Lowe's stores.
Southern Oregon University is pulling out all of the stops for this year's Arbor Day Celebration. In addition to planting lots of trees, they are announcing that they have been designated a Tree Campus USA and the inaugural Bee Campus USA! Listen to an interview here.
Noted mycologist Paul Stamets will speak on April 8 at 9:30 and the Bee Campus USA announcement will take place at 12:00.
On April 8, 2015, Southern Oregon University and Bee City USA will announce the launch of the national Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strengths of college campuses for the benefit of pollinators. The University collaborated with Bee City USA on developing the guidelines for certification after being inspired by two of the early adopters of Bee City USA—SOU’s hometown of Ashland, and neighboring Talent.
College students, faculty, administrators, and staff have long been among the nation's most stalwart champions for sustainable environmental practices. In embracing the recommendations of the University's Sustainability Council, President Roy Saigo said, “We are very proud to become the first certified Bee Campus USA in the nation. After careful review, our campus leadership agreed that fulfilling the commitments of the program aligned perfectly with and expanded upon initiatives to sustain pollinators that were already underway. This program will help the University, our students, and our community to be better environmental stewards."
To be certified, institutions must commit to developing habitat policies, teaching classes about pollinator-related topics, posting informative signage, encouraging service learning to sustain pollinators, and holding campus events. Like Bee City USA communities, each certified campus must reapply each year and report on accomplishments from the previous year.
Read the full press release here.
Bee City USA feels very fortunate to have found such an outstanding partner in pollinator protection.” Director Phyllis Stiles said, “Southern Oregon University has already begun modeling many of the practices Bee City USA wants to see become a national movement. A student group maintains a pollinator-friendly garden, the campus includes herbicide-free wildlife areas, and the Bee Campus USA Subcommittee of the Sustainability Council began meeting last year. The University’s landscaping services department has established two new native pollinator friendly beds. They have even identified plant suppliers who don't use neonicotinoid pesticides."
Other institutions of higher education are invited to explore completing the application process outlined here. (Application in Word).
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.