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

Bees and other pollinators provide critical services for the production of food, forage, and 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, and 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, and integrated pest management, all while stimulating Alabama’s economy through species protection and the services that support those efforts. In addition, these efforts generate campus synergies that enable faculty and staff to bridge the academic and operational divide to create new opportunities in research, instruction, and 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 and the first in the state of Alabama to receive this honor.  Our initial activities related to the 7 commitments have been summarized below, and will be updated annually 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 and other staff, administrators, faculty, and students, charged with developing a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan to include a locally native, pollinator-friendly plant list with regional sources for such plants and a least toxic integrated pest management (IPM) plan. The plant list and IPM plan should be publicized and available on the web to offer a valuable landscape management model applicable to other local landscapes.

 

  • The Bee Campus USA Committee has commenced work on developing a campus-wide pollinator habitat plan, and anticipates it shall be completed by the end of the 2020 academic year.  To date, students from the Department of Geosciences have worked with the Campus Planning and Landscapes Services units within Facilities Management to complete a GIS-based inventory of all landscape beds, zones, and annual color beds across campus, including calculated planting areas.  In addition, an initial listing of state and regional nurseries carrying native plants/shrubs/trees has been assembled for inclusion in the plan.
Commitment 2: Host Awareness Event(s)
Host an annual campus event(s) to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and 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, and organizations within Auburn University regularly host events centered on pollinator awareness or can easily integrate messaging related to pollinators and Bee Campus USA.  The Auburn Bee Campus USA Committee sees an opportunity to collectively brand these events under the Bee Campus USA accreditation to increase awareness on pollinators and raise the profile of Bee Campus USA activities both at Auburn and within the larger Bee Campus movement.  An initial listing of regularly held events that have the potential to become awareness events include:
    • Welcome Week Sustainability Picnic
    • Farm Fest/Tigers on the Green
    • Azalea Festival & Native Plant Sale
    • Bat Walk
    • Fall Fruit Tour
    • Ag Discovery Day
    • Medicinal Garden Tours
Commitment 3: Sponsor Student Service-Learning Projects to Enhance Pollinator Habitats
Annually sponsor and track student service-learning projects to enhance pollinator habitats on-and 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.

 

Commitment 4: Offer Pollinator Focused Courses and/or Workshops
At least biennially offer a course and/or workshop on Pollinator Ecology and/or Integrated Pest Management and/or Landscaping for Pollinators and/or Native Plants. Workshops may provide continuing education credits for professional pesticide applicators and/or landscape designers.

 

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System hosts an annual Beekeeping Symposium, which in recent years has drawn over 700 enthusiasts.
  • Other areas where these topics can possibly be integrated into the curriculum include:
    • College of Agriculture’s Horticulture department
    • College of Agriculture’s Entomology & Plant Pathology department
    • College of Architecture, Design, & Construction’s Landscape Architecture department
Commitment 5: Post Signage to Educate the Campus & Community
Post signage regarding pollinators to educate the campus and 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 and pollination, or signs in the cafeteria might explain the role of pollinators in food production. Signage may or may not be permanent.

 

  • Signage related to pollinators and their habitats can easily be integrated into a number of areas across campus, including:
  • Future areas to explore for signage placement include:
    • Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve
    • Weagle Woods
    • Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
    • Viacom Pond Outdoor Area
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 and activities.

 

  • It is the committee’s intention to maintain this webpage as a repository of past, current, and 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, and searchable based on the keywords “Bee Campus USA” and “Pollinators.”
Commitment 7: Annually Apply for Renewal

Annually apply for renewal of the institution’s designation and 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 and 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, and operational areas of the university, and meets at least once per semester or more frequently, as needed.

2018-2019 Committee Members

Arthur Appel — Entomology & Plant Pathology
Morgan Beadles — Davis Arboretum
Valerie Friedmann — Landscape Architecture
Tia Gonzalez — Medicinial Garden
Richard Guether — Campus Planning
David Hill — Landscape Architecture
Gary Keever — Horticulture
Kressie Kronis — Auburn for Bees – Student Group
Glenn Loughridge — Tiger Dining
Charles Ray — Entomology & Plant Pathology, Extension
Glenn Rodgers — Facilities Management
Stephanie Rogers — Geosciences
Kerry Smith — Horticulture
Amy Strickland —  Office of Sustainability
Justin Sutton — Landscape Services
Geoffrey Williams — Entomology & Plant Pathology

 

 

Graphic with bees.