In the winter of 2017, discussions took place regarding the idea of making the University of Oregon campus more “bee friendly.” It was from these talks that the Bee Campus effort took to flight. Working alongside the Student Sustainability Center, Campus Operations, Campus Planning, and the Office of the President—as well as community partners Beyond Toxics and Glory Bee—the Bee Friendly Committee cleared all the necessary hurdles needed to make the UO a Bee Campus USA university, becoming certified in spring 2018.
Students, faculty, and staff began working together to survey the course catalog and identify class offerings that have connections to bees, native pollinators, and pollination in general. This course list continues to grow as more and more folks learn about the connections that we all have to bees and pollination across multiple disciplines.
We continue to identify and install new campus areas which are designed and promoted as bee friendly. These new areas, together with the existing university Urban Farm, demonstrate the university’s commitment to preserving vital habitat for honey bees and native pollinators. They are shown on a pollinator layer of the UO campus map.
On the ground, the committee continues to work closely with our facilities maintenance teams to ensure that our integrated pest management system is within the certification guidelines.
Bee Friendly Committee
UO students, staff, faculty, and administration have come together to help support pollinators. We work to create and maintain pollinator-friendly native habitat and homes for bees.
The UO Bee Friendly Committee is a student-led organization through the Student Sustainability Center. They meet regularly to learn about pollinators and organize events. Highlights from past activities include:
- Planting native habitat on and off campus.
- Creating and maintaining a pollinator garden at the Grove Community Garden on campus.
- Creating nesting structures for native bees and installing mason bee houses.
- Helping maintain beehives on campus (beehives are on the EMU roof, at the Urban Farm, and in the Grove Garden).
- Providing beekeeping training to student members.
- Presenting bee-related craft events.
- Working with the City of Eugene Parks and Open Spaces and other community organizations to plan and implement an annual Eugene Bee Celebration and Bee Census event.
- Leading a bike tour of native habitat and beehives around campus.
How to Support Pollinators
More than 85 percent of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species. Pollinators are suffering an alarming decline in population numbers due to Loss of habitat and native plants, the widespread use of pesticides, and climate change. At the UO, we believe we can do our part to turn this around and protect the pollinators on which we all rely.
In the Community:
- Get involved the UO Bee Friendly Student Committee by following #uobeefriendly.
- Raise awareness. Spread the word about the importance of pollinators.
- Volunteer to help maintain native habitat. There are opportunities to help maintain native habitat on campus, as well as with the City of Eugene Parks and Open Spaces, and various community groups.
- More hands helping to maintain native vegetation increases the amount of native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees, and reduces the need for herbicide use.
In the Garden:
- Provide diverse and abundant native pollinator plants. Plant various flowering natives that bloom in succession throughout the growing season. Plant in big, clustered patches when possible. Replace lawn (which provides little benefit to wildlife) with patches of native plants.
- Provide clean water for drinking, nest-building, cooling, diluting stored honey, and butterfly puddling.
- Feed hummingbirds by combining four parts hot water to one part white sugar, boiled for one to two minutes. Don’t use honey, artificial sweeteners, or red dye. Keep feeders clean.
- Provide undisturbed spaces (leaf and brush piles, unmowed areas, fallen trees, and other dead wood) for nesting and overwintering of wild pollinators. Native bees may nest in sunny bare soil, small piles of branches, hollow twigs, old logs, and fallen plant material. You can also make or purchase bee nesting boxes.
- Avoid the use of chemicals in the garden.
- Use pesticide-free materials and plants. Support suppliers of pesticide-free native plants.
- If you don’t have a home garden, consider putting pots with blooming flowers outside the building, on your terrace, or other appropriate places. The community can work together to provide connectivity for our urban bees.