The Farmers' Market will be abuzz on April 29 as Gillette celebrates Pollinator Day! Among the sixteen seminars, you can choose Bee Hotels, Cooking With Honey, Flowers for Pollinators in Landscapes, Insects in the Garden, Native Bees for Wyoming, and What's the Bug? The keynote speaker is Benjamin Vogt, a well-known writer about gardening. He will make two presentations: Designing Urban Prairie Gardens, and Native Plants that Support Native Pollinators. Read all about it here.
Gillette was certified as a Bee City USA affiliate on April 18, 2016. Each affiliate commits to hosting at least one pollinator awareness event each year.
More than 100 bee advocates were invited to participate in a 3-day conference in Marin County, California from December 10-13. The public summary presentation by thought leaders Mark Winston, Tom Seeley, Marla Spivak, Jim Frazier, William Klett, Stephen Martin, Heather Mattila, and Chaz Mraz will be held tonight at Dominican University.
Conference organizer Bonnie Morse would have been hard-pressed to find an opening speaker who could have charged us to be more audacious--Larry Brilliant, the first leader of Google.org and a leader of a public health team that successfully eradicated small pox as a public health threat.
The conference mantra was to be open-minded and think big. Stay tuned for the audacious ideas spawned by both a sense of urgency to reverse pollinator declines and a willingness to listen intently to one another.
Representatives from five Bee City USA affiliates attended: Laura Bee from Ashland, OR; Sharon Schmidt from Phoenix, OR; Bob Redmond from Seattle, WA; Patricia Algara from San Francisco, CA; and Phyllis Stiles, director of Bee City USA, from Asheville, NC.
Lee Finney shared this account of recent Bee City USA Gold Hill activities.
At the beginning of October I attended a Can Do meeting and requested volunteer help in creating a ‘Pollinator Habitat’ garden alongside the Rogue River in Gold Hill, Oregon. Can Do is the community nonprofit that sponsored Gold Hill as the 26th Bee City USA affiliate this past July. We are following in the bee steps of Talent, Ashland, and Phoenix, our sister pollinator friendly cities in Southern Oregon.
October was turning out to be very rainy, so I kept an eye on the weather and announced our planting day just 2 days in advance. Ten people (and the sun) showed up at 10am with tools, gloves, wheelbarrows, and a eagerness to help our pollinators. We created gardens and paths with the river rock that was nearby.
To reward my volunteers I served up bowls of homemade vegetable lentil soup for well deserved lunch break. After lunch we spread more soil and then broadcast 1000’s of seeds over the newly created garden areas. We then stomped on the seeds to make sure they had good contact with the soil.
The seeds had been harvested from my own pollinator friendly gardens. I grew a mix of herbs and flowers which included some natives. Seeds included were Aster, Echinacea, Shasta, Oregon Sunshine, Agastache, Coyote Mint, Calendula, Bee Balm, Lavender, Oregano, Catnip, Marigolds, Penstemon, Goldenrod, Poppies, Thyme, Zinnia, and Phacelia.
Got milkweed? Yes! After convincing a landowner not to mow down her field of Showy and Narrow Leaf Milkweed, I and another volunteer harvested seed pods, with permission, from her property. We all had fun letting this large quantity of seed fly from our hands and land wherever, just helping out Mother Nature.
The garden will start blooming in Spring and will continue on throughout the Fall, providing host and nectar sources for butterflies, bees, moths, and all insects. It is my hope that this easy seed sown demonstration garden will inspire others in Gold Hill to do the same in their own yards.
Thanks to pollinator advocates Supervisor Katy Tang, landscape architect Patricia Algara, and city department of the Environement staff Mei Ling Hui, and others for increasing awareness of how each patch of land in San Francisco could be contributing to the survival of hardworking pollinators. Soon, Bee City USA hopes to count San Francisco in the Bee City USA afiliate network of cities and counties across America that are considering pollinating bees, butterflies, moths, bats, hummingbirds, beetles, and even some flies in their development and landscaping plans. Read on: http://hoodline.com/2016/09/protecting-pollinators-san-francisco-sets-sights-on-bee-city-designation
Thanks to City Council's unanimous vote on June 6, Ann Arbor has met the requirements for becoming an affiliate of Bee City USA.
Numerous efforts are underway in Ann Arbor to have homeowners pledge not to use pesticides that are harmful to bees and to plant a diversity of flowers to meet their year-round needs for nectar and pollen.
Ryan Stanton wrote a well researched article for MLIVE quoted here: "Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, shared some of her own thoughts as the City Council approved the Bee City USA resolution.
She said it's important to recognize the relationship between what people grow and what products they use and the impact on insects and small animals.
'Part of what makes Bee City USA as important an effort as it is, is that while it focuses on bees, it doesn't limit itself to honey bees,' she said. 'It instead encourages people to promote habitats for bees and other pollinators.'"
The Environmental Commission led by the Deputy Manager for Parks & Recreation Services, Dave Borneman, has been charged with facilitating the city's efforts to be more pollinator-friendly along with Germaine Smith, Pollinator Policy Action Team Chair for the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council, and Eileen Dickinson, a leader in the Bee Safe Neighborhoods movement.
Anne Arundel County+Annapolis+Highland Beach Certified as Bee City USA Affiliate--First City/County Partnership To Do So!
Good things are happening for pollinators in Maryland! The Maryland Pollinator Protection Act recently banned neonicotinoid pesticide sales to people who are not certified as pesticide applicators, AND Anne Arundel County joined forces with its municipalities--Annapolis and Highland Beach, to apply for Bee City USA certification.
In addition to the county commissioners and city council members who voted in favor of protecting pollinators, thanks to the leadership of Anna Chaney (owner of Honey's Harvest Farm), Lisa Barge (Agricultural Marketing & Development Manager for the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation) and Maria Broadbent (Director of the City of Annapolis Department of Neighborhood & Environmental Programs) for building the coalition to make this innovative collaboration happen.
“The front lines of the battle for nature are not in the Amazon rain forest or in the Alaskan wilderness; the front lines are our backyards, medians, parking lots, and elementary schools. The ecological warriors of the future won’t be just scientists and engineers, but gardeners, horticulturists, land managers, landscape architects, transportation department staff, elementary school teachers, and community association board members. This book is dedicated to anyone who can influence a small patch of land.” From Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West
To a great extent, this quote sums up the philosophy of Bee City USA. The program's goal is to welcome pollinators into our downtowns and our backyards (and front yards!). Across America, cities, towns, townships, and even counties are completing their applications to become Bee City USA affiliates because they recognize that we need the pollinators, and right now, the pollinators need us.
Please enjoy the annual reports for 2015 from the pioneers in this movement. These reports reflect the commitment, passion, and optimism of countless individuals who decided to do something to change the course of history for each of their communities, and who knows? The world?
According to Anna Webb's "Helping Works" blog on the Idaho Statesman:
"Garden City’s City Council recently passed a unanimous vote to make the city a 'Bee City USA' — the first in Idaho. Bee City USA is a national nonprofit that advocates for city leaders to raise awareness of bees and other pollinators and adopt practices to support healthy pollinator communities. The Chinden Gardeners Club led the charge to get the certification.
Judy Snow, a spokeswoman for the Gardeners Club, said a number of local organizations took part in the Bee City discussions, including the North End Organic Nursery, The Vineyard Church and the Boys & Girls Club of Garden City. The club will plant a public pollinator habitat behind City Hall in Garden City. This habitat will include a native bee observation booth, butterfly houses, bat houses and more. The garden will act as an outdoor classroom. Being designated as a Bee City also means that Garden City will take on the responsibility of hosting public awareness activities and an annual celebration.
Note, Garden City residents are welcome to join the pro-pollinator efforts. The Bee City USA committee meets the third Tuesday of each month at 11 a.m. in the Garden City Library. For more information about the Garden City Bee City USA program, contact Judy Snow at 208-371-4140 or email@example.com."
This summer, Troop 91 Eagle Scout Bennett David led a scout class at The North Carolina Arboretum to make "seed bombs" with the help of Nina Veteto at Monarch Rescue. These seed bombs will be thrown to "bomb the bank" at the Franklin School of Innovation in Enka, in order to create a native pollinator meadow on a large bank on the school campus. "Seed bombs" are made from native wildflower seeds and compost, rolled in clay. The scouts made over 50 pounds of seed bombs, while earning their Fish and Wildlife Merit Badge.
Bennett led the same activity with the students at the Franklin School of Innovation. where they installed a Monarch Butterfly Waystation. The project is the first of 4 schools that was funded through a grant from ThermoFisher Scientific. The Franklin School will use the garden and a pollinator meadow as part of their hands-on science curriculum. Over 180 students and 25 faculty members worked over 340 hours to prepare the site and install the Monarch Waystation. Bennett is working to encourage other scouts or other groups to consider planting Pollinator Gardens.
On September 19, Bennett will also lead an activity where visitors to the North Carolina Arboretum can make seed bombs at the Monarch Day event.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about planning your own scout or student project.
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA coordinator and Xerces Society.