The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is taking part in a nationwide program to improve environments and awareness of threatened bee and pollinator species.
Certified as a Bee Campus USA, UW-Stevens Point joins other cities and campuses across the country in providing pollinating insects and birds with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free or nearly free of pesticides.
In addition, the university will raise awareness in the community by creating a website with Bee Campus USA-related information, service-learning projects and signage, courses and events that support pollinator conservation.
UW-Stevens Point is one of three certified campuses in the state and the only one within the UW System.
"UW-Stevens Point has a history and reputation for supporting sustainability efforts, and we can always do more," said Abigail Kreger, a first-year forest management major from Farmington, Minn., who led efforts toward certification. "The program helps the university stay committed to pollinator conservation in a tangible way."
Pollinator conservation efforts are already underway in the campus landscape, where native plants are used in pollinator gardens, said Molly Dulak, a campus gardener. These plants supply food for pollinators from early spring to late fall as well as attract birds, bees, butterflies and other insects. During the fall cleanup, plant debris is left over the winter as it serves as a cover for pollinators who reside in and around the plants until the following spring, she said.
Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Ore., with offices across the country. Bee City USA's mission is to galvanize communities and campuses to sustain pollinators. Different types of bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds, and 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 consumed.
Each certified campus must renew their certification annually and report on accomplishments from the previous year. For more information about UW-Stevens Point's Bee Campus USA program, email Sustainability.Office@uwsp.edu.
For information about simple ways to help pollinators, visit https://xerces.org/bringbackthepollinators/.
Caption: UW-Stevens Point maintains gardens across campus that benefit pollinators. The university is one of three state campuses certified as a Bee Campus USA for 2020.