WHAT IS BEE CITY USA?
Bee City USA fosters ongoing dialogue in urban areas to raise awareness of the role pollinators play in sustaining three-fourths of the world’s plant species and what each of us can do to provide them with healthy habitat.
Bee City USA certification is both an honor and a responsibility. Launched in 2012, the Bee City USA program endorses a set of commitments, defined in a resolution, for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet. Cities, towns and communities across America are invited to make these commitments and become certified as a Bee City USA affiliate. This includes:
- Creating healthy habitat corridors in public green spaces
- Reducing or eliminating chemicals
- Creating a Bee Day annually
- implementing signage of a ALBUQUERQUE, A BEE CITY
- Ongoing education and advocacy about bees and all pollinators with civic, faith, schools, indigenous and neighborhood groups
NEW MEXICO AS THE FIRST BEE CITY USA SOUTHWEST!
Think Like A Bee, with generous support of many sponsors, including NM Beekeepers Association, has worked closely with the City Council to create a Bee City USA designation. Here is the resolution that was passed by the ABQ City Council in August 2016. It is a bi-partisan issue and we have found support on all sides of the fence.
We are committed to educating the public and advocating for pollinators at all levels to ensure policies and practices that benefit pollinators. Honeybees are especially important as the workhorses of our food system. Without bees, we cannot ensure a healthy food system for the future.
WHERE DID BEE CITY USA START?
In 2006 when honey bee colonies started disappearing, later dubbed “Colony Collapse Disorder,” beekeepers and non-beekeepers alike became very concerned. After all, one in every three bites of food we eat is courtesy of insect pollination. Equally important, 85% of flowering plants and trees rely on pollinators for the survival of their species. While less is known about native bees and other pollinators, we do know that entire species are disappearing at alarming rates as they battle most of the same enemies as honey bees–loss of habitat essential for food and shelter, inappropriate pesticide use, diseases, and parasites.
Founder, Phyllis Stiles, based in Ashville, N.C. noticed the declining bee populations and became alarmed at what it would mean if the bees and all pollinators of our food system crashed, she decided to do something.
So, Stiles created a national movement which has been spreading across North America,linking city to city, town to town, creating a pollinator friendly safety network. The first city and birthplace of this movement was Asheville, N.C. Hoping that Asheville would launch a movement across the nation, members of the Buncombe County Chapter of the NC State Beekeepers Association established Bee City USA. On June 26, 2012, Asheville’s City Council voted unanimously to become the inaugural Bee City USA, with both the honor and the responsibility the designation entails. In July 2014, Talent, Oregon’s City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Bee City USA resolution and submitted its completed application in August for designation, followed by Carrboro, North Carolina in October. With that the movement began spreading and more than fifty cities have since communicated their interest in applying. Today it boasts large metro areas like Seattle, Washington, all the way to small towns such as Ypsilanti, Michigan.
We encourage city leaders across the nation to explore joining the Bee City USA movement by completing the application process. As cities and towns across America become attuned to the universe of creatures that make the planet bloom, we will become more conscientious about what we plant and how we maintain our green spaces. There is much we can teach one another–both city to city and species to species.
HOW YOU CAN KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING
If you would like to know of ongoing efforts for pollinator health and education or our Bee City USA resolution, please contact Anita@thinklikeabee.org
Donate to continue our efforts! We are a tax exempt organization.
Impacts of your Bee Donations include:
- outreach (social media, tabling, neighborhood presentations, school education)
- pollinator policy advocacy with the City, State and Region
- funding beehives for youth
- mentoring of young beekeepers
- pollinator awareness celebrations and community events!