For immediate release June 7, 2022.
Laura Rost, Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA Coordinator, The Xerces Society, (503) 212-0894, [email protected]
Matthew Shepherd, Director of Outreach and Education, The Xerces Society, (503) 212-0802, [email protected]
The Bee City USA program provides a framework for communities to come together to conserve native pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat that is rich in a variety of native plants, provides nest sites, and is protected from pesticides. Affiliates also do outreach within their communities to promote conservation.
The program’s primary focus on creating habitat will support native bees like bumble bees, sweat bees, and mason bees, while also benefiting honey bees, monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, and a host of other wildlife.
“Reaching the 300 mark is such a fitting way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Bee City USA.” says Phyllis Stiles, who founded Bee City USA in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2012. “This milestone brings back the memory of Dolly Warden, who first grew this program from our one city in Ashville to two by beginning a program in Talent, Oregon, in 2014. Leaders don't exist without followers, and we’re grateful to all the wonderful individuals out there who have joined the movement to make our communities safer for pollinators.”
The newest Bee City USA affiliates to join the program and push membership past 300 are New Castle, New York, Media Borough, Pennsylvania, and Reno, Nevada.
Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, with offices across the country. To be a bee city or campus, affiliates must meet requirements for pollinator habitat creation, pesticide reduction, and outreach.
Bee City USA Coordinator Laura Rost says that flexibility is a hallmark of making sure the program works for different communities.
“How each city or campus completes the steps to conserve pollinators is up to them,” said Rost. “Affiliates play to their own strengths, designing pesticide reduction plans, improving habitat, and holding events ranging from garden tours to native plant giveaways to bee trivia nights.”
“Our goal is to help communities implement meaningful pollinator conservation in a way that works best for their talents and interests,” she added.
Pollinators are essential to the environment and agriculture, allowing the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species. The United States alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators, and the economic value of these native pollinators is estimated at $3 billion per year in the U.S.
Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25% of all birds, and of mammals ranging from red-backed voles to grizzly bears. Unfortunately, in many places, the essential service of pollination is at risk from habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases.
For more information about Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA, visit https://www.beecityusa.org/
For more information about the Xerces Society, visit https://xerces.org/
For information about four simple ways to help pollinators, visit https://xerces.org/bringbackthepollinators/