Penn State earns 'Bee Campus USA' certification
Penn State has become the 55th educational institution in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strength of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. The University Park campus joins more than 100 other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.
There are several ways the University Park campus has improved its landscape for pollinators and shown its dedication to their survival. These include, but are not limited to:
- The design and construction of a world-class pollinator garden at The Arboretum at Penn State.
- The roll out of more ecologically healthy and pollinator-friendly landscapes throughout campus.
- The future design and implementation of a test site on Oak Road converting turfgrass areas into a variety of landscape types to increase biodiversity, which is a collaboration between faculty, students and the Office of Physical Plant.
- The installation of highly designed landscapes in East Halls, the Tower Terrace at Hort Woods and the new Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Building, among others, that mimic wild landscapes with plants layered and intermixed increasing species diversity or eliminating the need for mulch.
Penn State is also home to the Center for Pollinator Research (CPR), which has worked extensively in research, education, extension and policy to protect pollinators. Housed in the College of Agricultural Sciences, the CPR comprises a group of more than 25 faculty, educators and outreach coordinators. The Department of Entomology and the CPR at Penn State host multiple outreach events each year aimed at educating the public about the diversity and importance of pollinators. These events include the Great Insect Fair, Bug Camp and Wings in the Park, among others.
"As a leading institution in pollinator research, we are excited to be recognized as a Bee USA campus," said Margarita Lopez-Uribe, assistant professor of entomology and faculty affiliate with CPR. "This designation dovetails with our longstanding efforts to engage the public and local communities and raise awareness about the importance of pollinators."
In addition, the Beekeeper's Club, a group of Penn State undergraduates from a variety of majors ranging from English literature to engineering, share their enthusiasm about honey bees and beekeeping and host talks and activities on 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 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 90 percent of the world’s wild 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.”