Dec 15, 2015 | Atlanta, GA
Earlier this month, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Bee Campus USA announced that Georgia Tech is the second university in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of Bee Campus USA, a program designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators.
College students, faculty, administrators, and staff have long been among the nation's most dedicated champions for sustainable environmental practices.
“We are very proud to be the second certified Bee Campus USA in the nation. This designation greatly complements the efforts of the students, faculty, and staff currently working on environmental and sustainability issues,” said Jennifer Leavey, director of the Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project. “We believe Bee Campus USA certification will provide the institution with an important platform to facilitate wider dialogue on and off campus regarding pollinator awareness and the initiation of student service projects that could benefit the entire city of Atlanta.“
Thoughtful stewardship of honey bees, wild bees and other pollinators is vital to the economy for many reasons. Not only do honey bees contribute to the honey industry, but they are an essential catalyst for every one-in-three bites of food consumed. Given bees’ importance, bee-friendly practices are being endorsed and celebrated on a local, national, and global scale. As a Bee Campus USA-certified school, Georgia Tech will serve as an invaluable resource for other institutions and individuals seeking to protect vital pollinators.
Said Bee Campus USA director, Phyllis Stiles, "We are very fortunate to have found such an outstanding partner. The Georgia Institute of Technology has already demonstrated its commitment to environmental sustainability. Now their talented faculty, staff, and students are incorporating pollinator education into courses as well as campus events, such as Georgia Tech’s Earth Day celebration, and programs offered through the Urban Honey Bee Project.“
In addition to its outreach programs, Georgia Tech plans to develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan for its 400-acre landscape to include a locally native and pollinator-friendly plant list. The Institute will also implement a least toxic integrated pest management (IPM) plan to be shared as a tool for the community at large.
Georgia Tech’s Bee Campus USA committee consists of a wide range of stakeholders including landscape planners; horticulturists; facilities design, operations, and maintenance staff; science faculty; biosafety and sustainability project staff; and students. According to Leavey, “Through this integration of the diverse set of minds represented on the Bee Campus USA committee, Georgia Tech will develop innovative and sustainable practices that can be applied right here on campus and in similar environments around the world.”
Other institutions of higher education are invited to complete the application process outlined at beecampususa.org.