Bee City USA began as a spark from one person and has grown into a nationwide network of communities large and small dedicated to promoting and protecting pollinators. This remarkable volunteer conservation initiative is joining forces with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to ensure it can continue to mobilize more communities to help pollinators.
“I am thrilled that Bee City is joining with the Xerces Society,” said Phyllis Stiles, founder and director of Bee City USA. “The organization we launched in 2012 has far exceeded our hopes for engaging communities in pollinator conservation. Now, the Xerces Society is uniquely qualified to provide the capacity we need to take it to the next level.”
From June of this year, Bee City USA and its sister initiative Bee Campus USA will be part of the Xerces Society. Bee City will get support and stability for the future and the Xerces Society can now help thousands of energetic pollinator advocates.
“Because of Bee City USA, there is a network of communities from coast to coast working to address the decline in pollinators,” said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society. “This can-do initiative tapped into Americans’ desire to help pollinators, and I am very happy that we’ll now be working together to maintain the momentum of the Bee City movement.”
Stiles will join the Xerces staff, ensuring continuity through this transition and allowing her to focus on coordinating and expanding the network of Bee City and Bee Campus affiliates.
Bee City / Bee Campus USA has been a huge success and boasts over 115 affiliate cities and campuses, with more coming on board every month. Each city affiliate adopts a resolution, a public statement of what they stand for and what they will do, and commits to raise awareness of pollinators, create habitat and reduce pesticide risks. College campuses also integrate pollinator conservation into their service-learning programs and curriculum.
It is this commitment from local people that is the strength of the Bee City and Bee Campus movement. The involvement of every affiliate is driven by a grassroots desire to engage friends and neighbors to organize events and make pollinator habitat improvements with the goal of changing how communities care for the landscapes where they live, work and recreate.
“I first met Phyllis five years ago at a Xerces workshop,” said Mace Vaughan, co-director of Xerces’ pollinator conservation program. “I have since watched her grow Bee City and enthuse thousands of people into taking steps to protect pollinators on public and private land.”
Vaughan also noted that this change formalizes a long-term relationship. Xerces staff have been providing advice and guidance to Stiles for years, and Bee City USA affiliates have been drawing on Xerces materials to inform their activities.
Reprinted from Xerces Society new release.