ANN ARBOR – Washtenaw Community College has created some buzz with its recent Bee Campus USA designation.
The honor is given by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation -- a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit -- to schools that create ideal landscapes for pollinators. WCC is the 88th institution in the U.S. to receive the designation and the third in the state of Michigan, after University of Michigan-Dearborn and Delta College.
“Being a Bee Campus USA is our small part in educating our students about the importance of bees to the nation’s food production,” WCC Bee Campus USA committee chair and librarian Sandy McCarthy said in a statement. “Promoting the importance of bee pollination to food production starts with awareness.”
WCC features a variety of bee-friendly flowers and its grounds crew practices non-toxic eradication and fertilization techniques. The school also hosts events about pollinators. In the fall, it led a Natural Pollinators Walk to educate students about ecosystems of bees and other insect pollinators including butterflies, moths and beetles.
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“The collaboration and collective planning between all the various departments on campus is incredible,” landscape and grounds manager Holly Herman said in a statement. “We were able to combine all of the sustainability initiatives that committee members had been promoting individually, to achieve a larger goal and designation as a Bee Campus."
According to the Xerces Society, insect pollinators and hummingbirds are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 90 percent of Earth’s flowering plant species.
“The program aspires to make people more PC—pollinator conscious, that is,” Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces’ executive director said in a statement. “If lots of individuals and communities begin planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials, it will help to sustain many, many species of pollinators.”
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti were named national Bee Cities in 2016 and 2015, respectively.