Home Virginia Tech earns Bee Campus USA certification for its work with pollinators

Virginia Tech earns Bee Campus USA certification for its work with pollinators

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Virginia Tech has earned the Bee Campus USA certification for commitment to sustaining native insect pollinators, a designation that further cements the university’s climate action commitment to create a green and sustainable campus.

“Over the next few years, our committee will work toward designing and implementing projects and education opportunities that will help make our world more bee-friendly,” said Margaret Couvillon, assistant professor of pollinator biology.

Bee Campus USA certification requirements serve as a guideline for affiliated campuses to increase their commitment to preserving these native pollinators. This is achieved through a long-term plan to increase native plant habitat, provide pollinator nesting sites, reduce pesticide use on campus, and develop pollinator conservation education and outreach opportunities for the campus community.

“This is another recognition of our efforts across the university to advance campus sustainability,” said Matt Gart, grounds manager. “To support pollinators on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus, we consciously select mostly native plants and shrubs that require minimal maintenance and pesticides.”

According to the news release, pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of at least 85 percent of the world’s flowering plants. A third of all food humans eat comes from plants that rely on pollinators, with native insect pollinators contributing a large portion of this pollination. In the United States, native pollinators contribute to the yearly reproduction of an estimated $3 billion worth of crops.

Unfortunately, research shows these native insect pollinator populations are declining worldwide, due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.

The Virginia Tech Bee Campus Standing Committee is composed of 17 dedicated and enthusiastic students, faculty, and staff from many different disciplines across campus.

The initiative is sponsored by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Looking ahead, there will be three additional student-proposed pollinator gardens planted on the Blacksburg campus, funded through the Office of Sustainability’s Green RFP Program.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.