Syracuse University has become the 70th educational institution in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to organize the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. Syracuse University joins more than 150 other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.
According to Meg Lowe, sustainability coordinator and Syracuse University Bee Campus USA committee chair, “the University has already taken great care in providing native pollinator habits across campus with native plant species, minimal pesticide use and, most recently, the addition of the Pete’s Giving Garden on South Campus. More pollinator gardens are being planned for the future.”
Grounds Manager Pat Carroll takes pride in the University’s commitment to minimizing hazards to pollinators by using nearly no neonicotinoid pesticides, glyphosate herbicide or other potentially dangerous pesticides. “Here at Grounds we are very excited to support Bee Campus USA,” says Carroll. “By implementing Integrated Pest Management practices we have been able to reduce the number of inputs we make on campus. As grounds manager, I believe it is important that we provide a beautiful campus while being stewards of the environment.”
To raise awareness about the plight of pollinators, Syracuse University’s Sustainability Management plans to publish a webpage on sustainability.syr.edu to disseminate information to the campus and external communities.
Lisa Olson-Gugerty, associate teaching professor in the Falk College, is excited about the opportunities for student research and service learning. “Honeybees are fascinating and amazing creatures, and I am happy to know that our campus is supporting their survival,” she says. “The Bee Campus USA certification reinforces the University’s efforts in supporting an environmentally friendly campus within an urban setting.
“The current generation of students are acutely aware of the state of our environment, and this certification is a reflection of the University’s efforts to recognize these concerns and make positive contributions,” Olson-Gugerty says. “With the installation of honeybee hives on campus and the Bee Campus USA certification, all of us at SU can buzz and ‘Bee Orange.’”
Already faculty, staff and students have worked together to study and create pollinator habitat with native plants. Several courses already include pollinators in their syllabi.
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 bumblebees, sweat bees, mason bees, honeybees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds and many others are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90 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 pollinator conscious,” says 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.”
For more information about sustainability on campus, visit sustainability.syr.edu/. For more information about Bee Campus USA, visit www.beecityusa.org/. For more information about the Xerces Society, visit xerces.org/. For information about four simple ways to help pollinators, visit xerces.org/bringbackthepollinators/.