Northland College has become the first educational institution in Wisconsin 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.
“Northland College has a strong environmental ethic and mission that we’re advancing and honing every day,” said Food Systems Manager Todd Rothe. “This is a great example of a student taking the initiative and with staff and faculty support making the planet a better place.”
Pollinators like bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds and many others are responsible for the reproduction of ninety percent of the world’s wild plant species and one in every three bites of food we consume.
Northland College graduate Danny Simpson, who now works for the Food Systems Center, prepared and submitted the application. One thing he wants to clarify: becoming a bee campus does not mean beekeeping.
“Bee Campus neither encourages or discourages campus beekeeping,” he said. “This is strictly to support and promote native bees and pollinators,” he said.
Working with other students, Simpson planted three pollinator gardens on campus last year. Over the next year, he and a committee of staff, faculty, and students will be creating an outreach plan to raise awareness about the plight of pollinators, integrating pollinator curriculum into a few campus courses, and developing more habitat for pollinators.
Northland College recently received high marks for sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, receiving a STARS gold rating. Becoming a Bee Campus improves the College’s score even more.
Northland College is the 47thcampus nationwide to become a Bee Campus.
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.