Concerned citizens of Phoenix, Oregon, organized to apply for Bee City USA certification earlier this year. Among all of the other pollinator awareness and pollinator-freindly habitat activities Phoenix has done and plans to do, one requirement for certification is mounting at least one street sign to make the community aware of the municipality's commitment. As simple as a sign may seem, it serves as a constant invitation for citizens to get involved in making the world safer for pollinators. The City of Phoenix has designated its Parks & Greenways Commission as the body responsible for pollinator matters. They plan to hold public meetings at least quarterly.
The city government channel of Wilmington, NC, the 10th city to be certified a Bee City USA, has produced a very informative video about why the New Hanover Bee Club thinks enhancing pollinator habitat is good for the whole community, Enjoy this informative video!
Congratulations to Mayor Amanda Edmonds and the people of Ypsilanti, Michigan, the 12th city to be certified a Bee City USA! City Council voted unanimously on June 16 to approve their Bee City USA resolution and to file a complete application committing to:
Kudos to Jamie and the members of the Ypsilanti Bee City Committee who are making the world safer for pollinators, one city at a time!
Talent, Oregon was the second city to become a certified Bee City USA. On June 20, Talent's Mayor Darby Stricker issued a proclamation observing National Pollinator Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCKLTGQpWe8
Having at least one annual awareness event like this is a requirement of being a certified Bee City USA.
Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
In city after city, pollinator champions like Jamie Berlin are mobilizing communities on behalf of hardworking bees, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, flies, wasps, moths--all manner of pollinators. Berlin helped start “Ypsi Melissa,” a community organization which offers workshops, beekeeping mentoring, bee gardens, hive sponsorship, and a hive host program.
Berlin got her start at the Local Honey Project, part of the Ypsilanti Food Co-op. She also helped found the Festival of the Honeybee, celebrating its 3rd year this fall.
Thanks to Jamie, Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo, and others who wanted the Charter Township of Ypsilanti to take a stand for the bees.
Not to be outdone by nearby Talent and Ashland, Pheonix organizers got busy as bees to complete their application and adopt their resolution to become a certified Bee City USA community. Like their neighbors, Phoenix is active in the Pollinator Project Rogue Valley. Sharon Schmidt, known for organizing the Oregon Honey Festival in Phoenix, won endorsements from the Parks and Recreation Department, the Native Plant Society, the Garden Club and others.
Congratulations to all! We look forward to what Phoenix has to teach us about establishing healthy habitats for bees and butterflies.
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.
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.