Potential 17 Million More Acres of Pollinator Habitat Along Roadsides! This Is Very Good News for the Bees!
Breaking GOOD news from Tom Van Arsdall, Director of Public Policy for the Pollinator Partnership!
"A key provision encouraging pollinator habitat along roadsides is included in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act)” [H.R. 22]. The President signed the FAST Act into law Friday evening, providing a timely exclamation point to the December 3-4 “Transportation Leaders Summit: Restoring the Nation’s Pollinator Habitat,” convened by the White House. The House and Senate overwhelming approved the FAST Act conference report on Thursday.
'For the first time ever, encouraging pollinator habitat along our nation’s roadsides is the law of the land! This is a major win for both States and pollinators,' said Laurie Davies Adams, P2 Executive Director. 'We look forward to helping States reduce roadside maintenance costs while providing better habitat for pollinators.'
This is a huge victory for pollinators, culminating a five-year effort by the Pollinator Partnership to 'pollinate' federal transportation law. Highway right-of-ways managed by State Departments of Transportation (DOT’s) represent 17 million acres of opportunity for States to both save money and improve pollinator habitat through Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM), including reduced mowing and strategic plantings of native forbs and grasses. Such win-win opportunities are also available for roadsides managed by counties and municipalities.
Section 1415 of the FAST Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to use existing authorities, programs and funding to assist IVM and pollinator habitat efforts by willing State DoT’s. Language is also added to a key funding eligibility account, making it clear that actions to provide “habitat, forage, and migratory way stations for Monarch butterflies, other native pollinators, and honey bees” are eligible for funding assistance.
This provision is based on H.R. 2738, the Highways BEE Act, which was introduced prior to 2015 National Pollinator Week by Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus (CP2C). Over 250 national, regional, and local organizations and 3,000 American scientists and individuals from all walks of life across the nation signed a petition in support of such legislation. For more information, go to http://www.pollinator.org/BEEAct.htm. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) secured a pollinator roadsides provision based on the Highways Bee Act in the Senate-passed bill. Denham got the same language in the House-passed bill.
The White House Transportation Summit on pollinator habitat is a key action implementing the Administration’s 'National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.' P2 collaborated with leaders of State Departments of Transportation (DoT’s), Administration officials and other key stakeholders with the shared objective of advancing efforts to expand and improve pollinator habitat on transportation assets across the Nation."
In August, the good folks at the Asheville Beverly Hanks Realtor office produced a gorgeous video about Bee City USA which they aired in September. Thanks Beverly-Hanks!
Community and Rentals Manager for the Community Museum Society, Hunter Deas, had been assisting with hive management for the past two years at Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City. While this was the first year Hunter had his own hives, he spent a great deal of his childhood assisting his great uncle with his dozen hives on the family farm. Hunter attended a Bee School in Asheville earlier this year and heard about the Bee City USA program. Already passionate about bees, agriculture, and pollinators at large, he was immediately excited by the thought of Lake City becoming a Bee City USA.
It was not a tough sale. Lake City's municipal leadership and community members, as well as its non-profit organizations, shared in Hunter's passion for pollinators. Says Hunter, "I think it is wonderful to be able to highlight the plight of the honeybee, and that Bee City USA has created a vehicle to not only address the issues facing honeybees, but all pollinators, and that the program's approach is such an inclusive, community-based initiative."
With its rich agricultural history and firm commitment to the benefits of local production of crops and produce, Lake City remains an active agricultural community that allows local farmers to produce and sell their wares, including local honey, at weekly Farmers Markets and festivals. Lake City's consistent planting of native, pollinator-friendly plants and flowers through partnerships with Moore Farms Botanical Garden and the Lake City Beautification Committee demonstrates the community's dedication to nurturing pollinators.
Moore Farms has hosted workshops and a summer day camp for local students called "Positively Awesome Pollinators," and hosts weekly garden tours and regularly posts educational information about pollinators on their blog. They also host quarterly social events.
Many thanks to Mayor Anderson and the Lake City Council for voting unanimously on November 10 to endorse Lake City's application for certification making Lake City the 15th certified city in the nation and the first in South Carolina.
(Ashland, Ore.) Southern Oregon University was named the winner yesterday of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Best Case Study sustainability award. SOU won for its project “Bee Campus USA as a Model for Pollinator-Friendly Campuses.”
For the project, SOU collaborated with Bee City USA to establish a Bee Campus USA designation. The designation recognizes campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, among other species. Through a six-month process SOU was able to align its practices to meet the newly established guidelines and in April 2015 was named the nation’s first Bee Campus USA.
In its application for the AASHE award, SOU noted that the project had several key goals, including “to establish broad support across the campus and in the community for pollinator-friendly policies and practices.”
Through their collaboration, SOU and Bee City USA established seven key pollinator-friendly practices that can be used as goals for all campuses nationwide. They include establishing a permanent university committee that develops a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan, hosting annual events that celebrate pollinators, surveying and encouraging service learning projects that benefit pollinators, offering courses and workshops on pollinator ecology, posting educational signage that educates the public about campus pollinator-friendly practices, maintaining recognition as a Bee Campus USA designee, and maintaining a website that shares Bee Campus USA news.
“We were very excited when we were named the nation’s first Bee Campus USA,” said SOU President Roy Saigo. “This recognition confirms the importance of the hard work that went into not only earning that designation, but helping to develop the guidelines as well. This is just one of the many ways that SOU demonstrates our commitment to sustainability.”
The work to create the Bee Campus USA program comes at a critical time, as many pollinators are experiencing unprecedented losses: continuing declines of honeybee colonies reached the highest rate for summer losses ever recorded this past year; Monarch Butterfly migration is threatened due to habitat losses; and multiple pollinator species such as the lesser long-nosed bat are threatened with extinction. “Hardworking pollinators are responsible for about 1/3 of our food and 85 percent of the world’s flowering plant species,” according to Phyllis Stiles, director of Bee City USA. “We are grateful to SOU for helping to pioneer this important new program to harness the influence of educational campuses to expand pollinator habitat, and educate their students and communities about ways to protect pollinators.”
For this week's conference in Hendersonville, NC, Michigan State University and NC State University are to be commended for pulling together a very diverse audience of pollinator researchers and educators, plant growers, the pesticide industry, and others to discuss the role of each in welcoming more pollinators into urban landscapes. Luminaries included Dr. Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, Dr. Rufus Isaacs of Michigan State University, Dr. James Frazier of Penn State University, and Dr. Nigel Raine of the University of Guelph, among many others. While passions soared over the pesticide issue, the moderator successfully appealed for civil dialogue. We look forward to the next conference in 2-3 years.
Bee City USA Director, Phyllis Stiles, managed to get a photo with one of her heroes, U.K. bumblebee expert, Dr. Dave Goulson.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org."
Earlier this year, the Charter Township of Ypsilanti and the City of Ypsilanti became the 11th and 12th cities to become certified Bee City USA municipalities. If you want to know how communities join forces to raise awareness of how important pollinators are to sustaining our food systems and life on earth more generally, take a listen to this wonderful WEMU interview with several bee powerhouses at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan, at the local food co-op, within the beekeeping community, and in Ypsilanti's highest office, the Mayor.
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 email@example.com with questions about planning your own scout or student project.
A Mighty Girl: 10-Year-Old Mikaila Ulmer of Austin, Texas is Entrepreneur on Mission to Help Save Honeybees
10-year-old Mikaila Ulmer of Austin, Texas is an entrepreneur on a mission to help save honeybees. This Mighty Girl is taking her social mission-driven lemonade business to the "next level" thanks to a $60,000 investment she received on the show "Shark Tank" earlier this year. Now, her BeeSweet Lemonade company -- which she was inspired to start when she was only four years old -- is on track to sell nearly 140,000 bottles this year!
Mikaila says that the inspiration for her company came at age four when she was stung by a bee twice in one week. According to Mikaila, "I was terrified of bees and I would over react and freak out [after being stung] and so my parents wanted me to do some research on the bees and I did that research and in doing that research I found out how incredibly important pollinators they are and that they're dying. So I decided to create a product that helps save the bees."
After she discovered her great-grandmother's 1940s recipe for flaxseed lemonade, Mikaila decided to start a lemonade business which uses honey from local bees for sweetener rather than corn syrup. As her business grew, she expanded from selling lemonade at a stand to bottling it and selling it in local stores and restaurants. She also donates a portion of her profits to organizations dedicated to protecting honeybees.
Mikaila's dedication and business savvy impressed "Shark Tank" investor Daymond John when she appeared on the show last spring. He agreed to invest $60,000 in BeeSweet and observed, "Partnering with Mikaila made perfect sense... She's a great kid with a head for business and branding. She's got a great idea and I'm happy to help take BeeSweet to the next level."
The young CEO is thrilled at the opportunity her company has given her to help the bees she loves, stating, "It's solving a problem in this world. That's what keeps me motivated to do it." And, she has a little advice of her own on how to be successful in business or any venture: “The more passionate you are about what you do, the better you do it, and the more fun you’ll have watching it, and you need to have perseverance to make your business bigger and better. . .courage, passion, and perseverance.”
To read more about Mikaila's story on CBS News, visit http://cbsn.ws/1Tb0Khh -- or check out BeeSweet Lemonade's website at http://beesweetlemonade.com/
For a helpful guide to encourage your own Mighty Girl's entrepreneurial spirit, we highly recommend the excellent "A Smart Girl's Guide: Making Money" for ages 9 to 13 at http://www.amightygirl.com/making-money
For an inspiring picture book about how real-life Mighty Girl Vivienne Harr used the profits from her lemonade stand to free 550 slaves, check out "Make A Stand: When Life Gives You Lemons, Change The World!" at http://www.amightygirl.com/make-a-stand
For stories for children and teens about entrepreneurial girls and women, visit our "Entrepreneurship" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/general-interest/jobs-money?cat=123
And, for Mighty Girl stories that emphasize the importance of determination in pursuing your dreams, visit our "Perseverance" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/personal-development/values?cat=219
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.