Kenyon has become the 67th educational institution in the nation and the second in Ohio 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. Kenyon joins more than a hundred other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.
As part of its involvement in the Bee Campus USA program, Kenyon will host programming to educate students, employees and the broader local community on the importance of pollinators; develop and implement a plan to maintain a pollinator-friendly campus habitat; and offer opportunities for students to become involved in pollinator protection. The College also will submit a report each year to Bee Campus USA on its work to be pollinator-friendly.
“Insect populations around the globe, and bees in particular, are experiencing declines. This is worrisome for food webs out to and including our own,” said Director of Green Initiatives Dave Heithaus ’99. 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 90 percent of the world’s flowering plant species and one in every three bites of food people consume.
According to Heithaus, Kenyon’s numerous “green centers,” which promote sustainability as well as valuable academic opportunities, will serve the College well in its Bee Campus USA involvement. These centers include:
The recent elevation of Kenyon’s environmental studies concentration to a major offers students additional academic opportunities to engage in projects relating to pollinators on and around Kenyon’s campus.
“Becoming a Bee Campus is entirely consistent with the missions of each of the green centers. Largely, we’re already doing the work; why not make it official and challenge ourselves to be even more intentional?” Heithaus said. “It also offers opportunities to look for ways that practices employed at the green centers might drift over into more traditional campus spaces.”
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.
“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.”