Guest blog by Sarah Luxton, Katherine Barnett, & Michelle Boerst, Bee City USA - Denton
The City of Denton in Texas became certified as a Bee City USA affiliate in 2016. Denton’s interest in pollinators began with beekeeping, but has expanded to include the many native species that also contribute to pollination. The City of Denton Sustainability Department and the Denton County Beekeepers Association make up the Bee City USA committee, educating the public on ways they can support local native pollinators as well as honeybees. The Sustainability Department has also been actively restoring pollinator habitat and encouraging the community to get involved through gardening workshops and the distribution of native plant seeds.
Pollinator Health & Habitat
Community members helped with several planting events at Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center, where the staff is actively restoring the tallgrass prairie and gardens with native plants that support local pollinators. (Photos taken by Elm Fork Chapter Texas Master Naturalist, Clay Thurmond, and used with permission.)
Denton’s sustainability staff maintains six different gardens at the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center. The center is an oasis for local flora and fauna with an estimated 2,800 acres that uses organic and sustainable gardening practices. In April 2019, Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center received 150 milkweed plants from Monarch Watch. The center’s staff was also able to propagate 80 additional milkweed plants in an onsite greenhouse. In April and May of 2019 sustainability staff planted 230 milkweed plants, 250 bluestem grasses, and 61 nectar producing native plants with the assistance of volunteers during four different events. The bluestem grass was relocated by Keep Denton Beautiful and additional nectar producing plants were sourced from Painted Flower Farms, a local nursery.
Education & Outreach
These photos were taken during Pollinator Week at the City of Denton during a children's beekeeping workshop led by the Denton County Beekeepers Association at Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center.
In 2019 the Sustainability Department hosted 18 gardening workshops during the spring and fall, with a combined attendance of more than 800 participants. The workshops provided a learning opportunity for the community and hands-on gardening experience. During the classes instructors discussed what types of native flowers and plants attract and support pollinator populations in the local region. Throughout the year staff distributed 1,425 seed packets to residents.
In June, the City of Denton celebrates National Pollinator Week by hosting a variety of events that are perfect for the whole family. The most popular event, Beekeeping for Kids, teaches children all about the life cycle of the Honey Bee and the important role that all pollinators play in the ecosystem.
Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center also hosts an Annual Honey Run where residents can race through the trails and afterwards meet with local beekeepers from the Denton County Beekeepers Association. This event attracts hundreds of attendees each year!
Policies & Practices
In 2012, Denton passed the Simply Sustainable Plan which outlines 30 different sustainable strategies the city will implement. One of those strategies included updating the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan. This update was recently passed and includes the removal of glyphosate on all Parks and Recreation property at the City of Denton along with a variety of other environmentally conscientious practices.
Learn the full story of the city banning the use of glyphosate here: https://dentonrc.com/news/denton/denton_city_council/denton-ends-use-of-glyphosate-herbicide-for-city-parks/article_5e41ad83-6c79-558f-b9be-da761afb18d4.html
Recommended Locally Native Plant Species List — https://wateruniversity.tamu.edu/media/2539/wildlife-updated-january-14-2020.pdf
Regional Native Plant Supplier List — http://www.paintedflowerfarm.com/
Pollinator Friendly Integrated Pest Management Plan —
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA coordinator and Xerces Society.