Rich-Joseph Facun / Ohio University
Ohio University has become an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to harness the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. OHIO joins many other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.
According to Ohio University Landscape Coordinator Susan Calhoun, the Athens campus has a number of policies in place to protect pollinator species.
âIn 2019, the University adopted an integrated pest management plan that included the designation of 11 specific naturalized areas to provide habitat for beneficial insects and other wildlife,â Calhoun said. “The plan also institutionalized cultural practices and chemical application guidelines that support healthy and diverse ecosystems.”
The properly signed naturalized and pollinator zones on campus have been adopted by the campus and the local community. Emma Little, student member of OHIO’s Bee Campus USA committee, who also works with Calhoun in Grounds Services, shared her pleasure working on the initiative.
âIt’s exciting to see the University tackle these beneficial environmental challenges that have such a visible impact. The pollinator garden we set up this spring on The Ridges has not only thrived with beautiful plantings, but has attracted an abundance of insects and other wildlife, âLittle said. “To see all the activity, there is a wonderful testimony that people can have an impact on protecting species and the environment while creating an attractive landscape for everyone to enjoy.”
Steve Mack, Director of Facilities Management, agrees and sees additional benefits to the triple bottom line of sustainability: people, planet and prosperity.
âThe University continues to add designated naturalized areas and is actively planning expansion of pollinator-specific habitat,â Mack said. âThese areas are not only valued by the campus and the local community and support biodiversity, but with the reduction in mowing needs, we have seen a decrease in labor costs. “
âFacility Management and Security continues to evaluate its processes to find the safest and least toxic field practices possible,â added Scott Blower, OHIO Field Services Manager. “We are using a soil amendment produced in our own industrial-scale tank composting operation to naturally improve growing conditions for turf and landscape plants, provide additional education and training for staff, and continue to expand areas. naturalized on campus, including dedicated pollinator habitat such as as a certified Monarch walkthrough station at the OHIO Ecohouse.
To raise awareness of the plight of pollinators, OHIO is updating the Office of Sustainability webpage to disseminate information to campus and outside communities regarding the campus integrated pest management plan, native plants incorporated into the landscape of the campus, including their flowering time and habitat requirements, links to student and faculty research on pollinator issues, and information on upcoming events.
Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology Kim Thompson is excited about the opportunities for student research and service learning activities related to the Bee Campus USA designation. Faculty, staff, and students have previously worked together to study and create a pollinator habitat with native plants as part of its Schoonover green roof project. Many courses include pollinators in their curricula and Invasive Species Removal is an ongoing student activity led by Calhoun, his student staff Grounds Services, the Plant Club, and student volunteer climate and sustainability ambassadors.
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 nationwide. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities and campuses to support pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat rich in a variety of native plants and free from pesticides. Pollinators like bumblebees, sweat bees, mason bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds and many more are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90% of species. flowering plants in the world; and one in three mouthfuls of food. we consume.
âThe program aspires to make people more aware of PCs, ie pollinators,â said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of Xerces. âIf many individuals and communities start planting native, pesticide-free trees, shrubs and flowering perennials, it will help maintain many pollinator species. ”
According to Molly Martin, coordinator of Bee Campus USA, âEach campus must renew its affiliation each year and report on the achievements of the previous year. Other higher education institutions are invited to explore the possibility of completing the application process described on beecityusa.org.