Bee Campus USA LogoBy participating in the Bee Campus USA program, Auburn University seeks to foster efforts to study, promote, & protect pollinators. 

Bees & other pollinators provide critical services for the production of food, forage, & fibers, including many crops important to Alabama’s economy. Unfortunately, in recent years honey bee colonies have experienced unprecedented mortality, while many wild pollinators face population declines. This creates the potential for negative consequences across our natural, agricultural, economic, & social systems. 

By fulfilling the commitments of the ‘Bee Campus USA’ program, Auburn aims to unite current efforts to raise awareness on pollinators, food production, native plant species, & integrated pest management, all while stimulating Alabama’s economy through species protection & the services that support those efforts. In addition, these efforts generate campus synergies that enable faculty & staff to bridge the academic & operational divide to create new opportunities in research, instruction, & extension related to pollinators and environmental health.  

We encourage you to learn more about the Bee Campus USA program, along with the activities here at Auburn, by exploring the topics below.  Auburn received the official Bee Campus USA designation in April 2018, making us the 39th university in the nation & the first in the state of Alabama to receive this honor.  Our initial activities related to the 7 commitments have been summarized below, & will be updated to reflect our efforts to uphold the Bee Campus designation.  

If you have questions, would like additional information, or want to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  

Commitment 1: Develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan
Establish/maintain a Bee Campus USA Committee or Subcommittee comprised of the landscape director & other staff, administrators, faculty, & students, charged with developing a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan to include a locally native, pollinator-friendly plant list with regional sources for such plants & a least toxic integrated pest management (IPM) plan. The plant list & IPM plan should be publicized & available on the web to offer a valuable landscape management model applicable to other local landscapes.
Commitment 2: Host Awareness Event(s)
Host an annual campus event(s) to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators & to acknowledge the institution’s certification as a Bee Campus USA institution.  National observances that would fit well include National Pollinator Week, Earth Day/Week,  National Wildflower Week, National Gardening Week,  Arbor DayNational Moth Week, National Bat Week, Garden for Wildlife Month, National Honey Month, National Honey Bee Day, National Garden Month, Butterfly Education and Awareness Day. Events may be workshops on pollinators, planting pollinator gardens, presentations about pollinators, garden tours, films about pollinators, etc.
  • Various departments, units, & organizations within Auburn University regularly host events centered on pollinator awareness or integrate messaging related to pollinators and Bee Campus USA.  Since receiving our initial Bee Campus USA designation, we’ve hosted at least 22 pollinator-related events that reached an estimated 6750 people.  These events include:
    • Auburn Azalea Festival – 4/2/18
    • Bee Auburn – 6/22/18
    • Sustainability Picnic – 8/22/18
    • Can Art Save the Planet? A Symposium on Art & Planetary Health – 4/11/19
    • Family Fun Day – 4/43/19
    • Auburn Azalea Festival – 4/20/19
    • Earth Day Extravaganze – 4/22/19
    • Red, White, & Blueberry Bash – 6/29/19
    • Sustainability Picnic – 8/21/19
    • School field trips to the Arboretum
    • Medicinal garden tours
    • Extension presentations around the state of Alabama
Commitment 3: Sponsor Student Service-Learning Projects to Enhance Pollinator Habitats
Annually sponsor & track student service-learning projects to enhance pollinator habitats on-& off-campus. Service-learning projects may or may not be part of appropriate courses. Campus employees are also encouraged to participate in service projects to enhance pollinator habitats.
  • While an official inventory of student service-learning has not been conducted, integration of these types of activities into courses & student activities do happen throughout the university.  Areas, where service-learning has already occurred include:
    • College of Agriculture – Laboratory of Insect Pollination & Apiculture
      • Students have visited practicing apiarists, planted pollinator-friendly plots, built bee hotels & hive boxes, & practiced honey harvesting.
    • College of Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Geosciences
      • Students in a Geographic Information Systems course helped to map annual planting beds on campus to aid Landscaping Services in determining how they might manage them in a way that meets campus goals & supports pollinators.
    • School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
      • Students in the Environmental Interpretation course helped design interpretative signs highlighting the Bee Campus USA designation & the roles of various pollinators.
    • For the Bees student group
      • Students in this group maintain a plot in the Auburn University Community Garden to support the presence of pollinators.
    • Student employment activities
      • Students employed at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum & the AU Bee Lab help with habitat enhancement projects & conduct outreach activities on campus & in the community.
Commitment 4: Offer Pollinator Focused Courses and/or Workshops
At least biennially offer a course &/or workshop on Pollinator Ecology and/or Integrated Pest Management &/or Landscaping for Pollinators &/or Native Plants. Workshops may provide continuing education credits for professional pesticide applicators &/or landscape designers.
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System hosts an annual Beekeeping Symposium, which in recent years has drawn over 700 enthusiasts, & in 2019 they launched a 3-part Beekeeping Webinar series.
  • Various courses within the College of Agriculture; College of Architecture, Design, & Construction (CADC); and the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) touch on pollinators &/or pollinator-related habitat to varying degrees.  For instance, within SFWS a group of students worked to created pollinator-related sign designs and students in CADC’s Landscape Architecture program learn about pollinator habitats within some of their design courses.  The most extensive coverage of pollinators happens within the College of Agriculture, where students taking courses within the department of Entomology & Plant Pathology learn about pollinators in a variety of courses, including Bee Biology & Management & Economic Entomology.
  • Beyond these activities, Extension professionals hosted over 20 bee-specific offerings throughout the state of Alabama, & Auburn faculty & students also presented research findings at meetings & conferences around the world on over 20 occasions.
Commitment 5: Post Signage to Educate the Campus & Community
Post signage regarding pollinators to educate the campus & broader community about pollinator-friendly landscaping principles. For example, signage next to plantings might explain how beneficial insects provide a natural process for pest management & pollination, or signs in the cafeteria might explain the role of pollinators in food production. Signage may or may not be permanent.
  • Auburn University maintains strict standards for campus signage, so no permanent signs have been installed to
    date. At least 5 different temporary signs have been utilized at different locations & outreach events throughout the year. They include:

    • Posters on Auburn’s Bee Campus USA designation & what it means.
    • A sign on how to connect with the Auburn University Bee Lab for more information on research & outreach efforts.
    • A graphic depicting the “Flower to Fruit” process, including the critical role of pollinators.
    • A graphic covering the Southeastern Blueberry Bee & the role it plays in fruit cultivation.
    • Various signage at outreach tables of both the AU Bee Lab & the For the Bees student group that covers information on honeybees.
    • Social media posts on pollinators from units like the AU Bee Lab, Donald E. Davis Arboretum, Office of Sustainability, & AU Community Garden.
Commitment 6: Maintain a Web Presence to Share Bee Campus News
Maintain a webpage on or linked to the institution’s website to share your BEE CAMPUS USA news & activities.
  • It is the committee’s intention to maintain this webpage as a repository of past, current, & future efforts surrounding the Bee Campus USA commitments.  In addition, events related to pollinators will be included on the Office of Sustainability calendar of events.
Commitment 7: Annually Apply for Renewal

Annually apply for renewal of the institution’s designation & submit a brief report of the previous year’s Bee Campus USA activities following the format provided.

  • The annual renewal process will be a committee-based process, but will be formally submitted and financially supported by the Office of Sustainability.

Bee Campus USA Committee

The Auburn Bee Campus USA Committee began as an informal working group in early 2017 focused on unifying the mutli-faceted, pollinator-related efforts already underway on campus.  Since then, it has both grown in membership & purview, with the members listed below now working together to actively and formally support the Bee Campus USA commitments.  The committee serves as a network of representatives from the academic, extension, & operational areas of the university, & meets at least once per semester or more frequently, as needed.

Current Committee Members

Arthur Appel — Entomology & Plant Pathology
Morgan Beadles — Davis Arboretum
Tia Gonzalez — Medicinial Garden
Judd Langham  — Campus Planning
David Hill — Landscape Architecture
Madeleine O’Donnell — Auburn for Bees – Student Group
Glenn Loughridge — Tiger Dining
Charles Ray — Entomology & Plant Pathology, Extension
Stephanie Rogers — Geosciences
Kerry Smith — Horticulture
Amy Strickland —  Office of Sustainability
Justin Sutton — Landscape Services
Geoffrey Williams — Entomology & Plant Pathology

 

 

Graphic with bees.