Bee Campus USA recently announced UCF is the 46th educational institution in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strengths of campuses for the benefit of pollinators.
“Our designation as a Bee Campus USA builds on our ongoing commitment to address global concerns over the decline in pollinators, especially in urban settings,” UCF’s Arboretum director Patrick Bohlen says. “It also builds on other pollinator initiatives we have joined, including the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and the Nature Conservancy Monarch Initiative.”
“Our designation as a Bee Campus USA builds on our ongoing commitment to address global concerns over the decline in pollinators.”
In 2016, the Arboretum worked with UCF’s Landscape and Natural Resources to plant the campus’s first pollinator gardens. Since then the campus has established another large pollinator garden near Colbourn Hall. The university’s horticultural staffers are using these areas to test different native and non-native pollinator plants to determine which species perform best on campus.
Last year, the university also placed three honeybee hives in the Arboretum to help improve pollinator activity on campus. Honeybees are responsible for pollinating 80 percent of worldwide pollination.
“Imperiled pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of 90 percent of the world’s wild plant and tree species,” Bee Campus USA director Phyllis Stiles says. “UCF is a stellar example of the influence educational institutions can have on their students and the broader community. Their talented faculty, staff and students offer an invaluable resource for Central Florida residents in seeking ways to manage ornamental landscapes in more wildlife-friendly ways.”
Chase Mason and Barbara Sharanowski, two professors from the Department of Biology, also serve on UCF’s Bee Campus USA committee with Bohlen. The Arboretum supports student research projects and internships, which helps the campus meet the expectations of the Bee Campus USA program.
“Imperiled pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of 90 percent of the world’s wild plant and tree species.”
The Bee Campus USA program requires the university to develop policies and procedures to minimize hazards of harmful chemicals to pollinators. Experts in UCF’s Integrated Pest Management program are working to develop more environmentally sustainable pest-control practices. Landscape and Natural Resources is also working to find alternatives to certain pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to pollinators and other beneficial insects.
The UCF Arboretum will soon publish a webpage with information about UCF’s Integrated Pest Management Plan, native plants on campus and links to student research on pollinator issues. In the meantime, the Arboretum will also post information about upcoming events through its Facebook page and other UCF media outlets.
Each certified campus must reapply each year and report on accomplishments from the previous year, Stiles says.