Chattanooga State Community College has become the 61st educational institution in the nation and the first campus in Tennessee to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. Chattanooga State joins more than a hundred other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.
“College students, faculty, administrators, and staff have long been among the nation's most stalwart champions for sustainable environmental practices,” said President Dr. Rebecca Ashford.
According to Global Scholars Director Amanda Bennett, students, faculty, and staff across the Chattanooga State campus will be made aware of the importance of pollinators through multiple courses, educational events, and service-learning opportunities. These include, but are not limited to, a movie screening to raise awareness about bees as pollinators, information tables for campus community members to pledge that they will work to be pollinator friendly, and related information incorporated into courses and programs of study.
Plant Operations Executive Director Guy Davis takes pride in Chattanooga State’s commitment to minimizing hazards to pollinators by using no neonicotinoid pesticides, and almost no glyphosate herbicide or other potentially dangerous pesticides. To raise awareness about the plight of pollinators, Chattanooga State plans to publish a webpage to disseminate information to the campus and external communities including Chattanooga State’s Integrated Pest Management Plan, a list of native plants incorporated into the campus landscape including their bloom time and habitat needs, links to student and faculty research into pollinator issues, and information about upcoming events.
Faculty members from the horticulture and biology departments are excited about the opportunities for student research and service-learning. Already faculty, staff and students have worked together to study and create a pollinator habitat with native plants.
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. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities and campuses to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free of pesticides. Pollinators like bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds and many others are responsible for the reproduction of almost ninety percent of the world's flowering plant species and one in every three bites of food we consume.
“The program aspires to make people more PC—pollinator conscious, that is,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces’ executive director. “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.”
According to Bee Campus USA founder Phyllis Stiles, “Each certified campus must renew their certification each year and report on accomplishments from the previous year. Other institutions of higher education are invited to explore completing the application process outlined at beecityusa.org.”
For more information about Chattanooga State Bee Campus USA program, contact Amanda Bennett at email@example.com or 697-2577.