Three Ways to be a BEEAdvocate and Save Bees

Bee decline has been in the news in recent years. Both domesticated honey bees and wild native bees are experiencing troubling populations declines due to habitat loss, pesticides and disease. That’s why Beesponsible® has teamed up with National Wildlife Federation to promote bee conservation.

One personal action we can all help bees is to create bee-friendly gardens and register them as Certified Wildlife Habitats with the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program.

If we’re going to really make a difference and reverse the alarming trend of bee decline, we must also get active beyond our backyards and get our friends, families, and entire communities involved.  Here are three ways how to be a BEEAdvocate and save bees throughout your community:

TELL A FRIEND

Share the Beesponsible® message on social media and ask your friends to do it too. Here are some sample posts that you can use to spread the word:

SAVE THE BEES – Our honey bees and native bees are in trouble. Their populations are declining. You can make a difference in your own garden by partnering with @NWF and @Beesponsible LEARN MORE: https://www.beesponsible.com/do/beesponsible-living/.

Ditch the chemicals in the garden this year!  A pesticide-free garden is a healthy garden for you and your family and for the bees that rely on healthy plants and their pollen and nectar. Learn more at: https://www.beesponsible.com/do/beesponsible-living/.

Want to help bees but don’t have room for a bee garden? Plant a bee container garden on your balcony, roof or front porch, join a community garden, or help plant a garden at a local school or library. Learn more at: https://www.beesponsible.com/do/beesponsible-living/.

Bees are important pollinators. Photo by George Ritchey via National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest.

ASK YOUR CITY COUNCIL TO PASS A BEESPONSIBLE® PROCLAMATION

Proclamations are a useful tool for a municipality to call public attention to the decline of bees and other pollinators and to express a city’s support to become more Beesponsible®. Mayors can issue proclamations at any time, but they are often effective when tied to specific local events (like the dedication of a new pollinator garden at city hall) or national days that celebrate sustainability, wildlife or pollinators.

While proclamations typically do not have major legal significance, they can help raise the visibility of an issue with the public and are an excellent policy tool for outlining future actions that a municipality might take to become more Beesponsible®.  Here is a template Beesponsible® proclamation that can be shared with your local leaders for consideration.

BEESPONSIBLE® PROCLAMATION:

WHEREAS, North America is blessed with diverse wildlife, including more than 4,000 native bee species that are key pollinators wild plants that form the foundation of the food web and provide habitat for all other wildlife;

WHEREAS, managed domesticated honey bees, along with some native bee species, are essential to our nation’s agriculture economy and food supply, providing one-third of all the food we eat;

WHEREAS, insect pollinators are themselves important food sources for other wildlife including countless bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian and fish species;

WHEREAS, One-third of our nation’s wildlife species are at risk of extinction in coming decades, including seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bee and the once-common rusty-patched bumble bee, the first bee species added to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list;

WHEREAS, cities, towns and counties have a critical role to play to help save bees and other pollinators by creating habitat by planting native plants and eliminating pesticides at parks, municipal buildings, roadsides and throughout the community where our citizens live, work, learn play and worship;

WHEREAS, I encourage other city officials across our great nation to take a stand with me so that our nation’s bees and other wildlife will once again flourish across the continent;

Now, therefore, I, MAYOR NAME of the CITY NAME, do hereby proclaim DATE as: “SAVE THE BEES DAY” in CITY NAME.

Here are some great times for your community leaders to make a proclamation:

March (second week) – National Wildlife Week
April – Earth Month
April 22nd – Earth Day
May – Garden for Wildlife Month
June – Great Outdoors Month
June (third week) – Pollinator Week
August (third Saturday) – National Honeybee Day

yellow-banded bumble bee

Yellow-banded bumble bee. Photo Stephen Ausmus/USDA

ASK YOUR CITY TO PLANT BEE HABITAT

Cities and towns own and manage buildings, parks and other properties. These properties have the potential to provide habitat for bees by incorporating flowering native plants into the landscape.  You can reach out to your mayor, city council member, director of the parks department or other local officials and ask that they create habitat throughout the community.

Some public or municipal landscapes that could potentially be a bee habitat include:

  • City Hall
  • Libraries
  • Parks and Rec Buildings
  • Courthouses
  • Police and Fire Stations
  • Nature Centers
  • City Parks
  • Mayor’s Residence
  • Curbside Plantings
  • Sports Fields
  • Public Schoolgrounds
  • Hospitals

Remember, once your community has taken these Beesponsible actions and planted these bee habitats, they will provide food, cover and places for pollinators and other wildlife to raise their young.  Add a water source like a birdbath or butterfly puddling dish and these gardems will qualify to become Certified Wildlife Habitats with The National Wildlife Federation, and be counted in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.

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