High-quality habitat is not partial to the species that it welcomes; birds, bees, butterflies and more find the resources that they need in pollinator habitat! Without pollinators, our diets would be void of essential nutrients that we require. “Bee City USA will be a great addition to the Monarch Joint Venture partnership;” says Wendy Caldwell, MJV Coordinator, “their ability to foster community partnerships around pollinators will help unify our efforts across the nation.”
Bee City USA embraces MJV’s collaborative approach by encouraging individual and community action and facilitating creative, constructive community partnerships. Collaboration, both national and local, is their mantra. Bee City USA’s national network of cities and academic institutions partnering for pollinator conservation is a strong foundation in which monarch conservation efforts can be integrated.
“Monarchs and honey bees are ‘gateway species’ for pollinator conservation, capturing the imagination and inspiring broad interest in pollinator conservation generally. Even though the bee genera have more impact on food security, oftentimes, individuals and institutions are sometimes afraid of inviting stinging bees into their landscapes, while they welcome butterflies. The reality is that monarch habitat supports almost all pollinators—including diverse native bee species, and offers ongoing educational opportunities, “ says Bee City USA Executive Director Phyllis Stiles. “Bee City USA embraces MJV’s collaborative approach. We are excited to invite our national network of cities and academic institutions to join forces with Monarch Joint Venture on local and national projects to educate communities on how to sustain monarch butterflies throughout their life cycle by providing them with locally native milkweed plants and other nectar-rich plants for their adult stage.”
Recognizing that pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of 90% of the world's wild plant species and for one in three bites of the food we consume, Bee City USA galvanizes communities and educational campuses to sustain all pollinators (including monarchs), by creating healthy habitat containing a variety of native plants and reducing pesticide use. Bee City USA’s mission is to build Americans’ capacity to share their built environments with pollinators and other wildlife by simulating native landscapes as much as possible.
Bee City USA launched in Asheville, North Carolina, in June 2012 and now has certified affiliates in 26 states with many more in the process of building their coalitions. As of April 2017, 44 cities (including Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) have been certified as Bee City USA affiliates. In April 2015, they launched a companion program, Bee Campus USA, for educational institutions and already have certified 21 institutions of higher education. Lists of current affiliates with maps for each program are on the beecityusa.org website.
To participate, cities, counties and campuses must formally apply for Bee City USA certification. Cities or counties must also have their highest elected body adopt a resolution that outlines their commitments. Central to those commitments is deputizing a standing committee to serve as the voice of the pollinators in landscaping and pest management decisions going forward. Through public/private partnerships, once a community or academic institution becomes “PC” (pollinator conscious), not only do they host educational events and post signage about pollinator habitat, they also choose many more locally native plants for public landscapes and encourage their citizenry to do the same. Likewise, they begin practicing integrated pest management and educate their community to do so as well. They also are encouraged to support local native nurseries that supply pesticide-free, locally native plant species.
For more information on Bee City USA’s goals, projects and resources, visit their website.
The City of Talent, Oregon, with their Bee City USA sign posted. Photo provided by Bee City USA.
Children examine insects during a Bee City Pollinator Safari for Pollinator Celebration week! Photo by Nancy Adamson.
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo taken by Candy Sarikonda.