(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University – which became the original Bee Campus USA three years ago – has been notified that its certification has been renewed for 2019 following a rigorous application process.
Colleges and universities are certified based on various criteria as “bee campuses” by the Bee City USA organization, an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. SOU collaborated with Bee City USA to develop guidelines for the Bee Campus certification in 2015, after being inspired by two early adopters of the Bee City designation – Ashland and neighboring Talent.
There are now 70 colleges and universities nationwide that have earned Bee Campus USA certification, including four others in Oregon: Lane Community College, Portland Community College, Portland State University and University of Oregon.
Phyllis Stiles, the founder and “pollinator champion” of Bee City USA, congratulated SOU on its successful renewal and thanked the university for its leadership role in the effort to preserve bees and other beneficial insects.
“Most importantly, you continue to inspire your campus and community to take care of the pollinators that play a vital role in sustaining our planet,” Stiles said.
SOU was also named the nation’s top pollinator-friendly college last summer by the Sierra Club, as part of its annual “Cool Schools” rankings.
Measures taken at the university to help bees survive and thrive include a student-maintained pollinator-friendly garden, two other native pollinator-friendly beds, herbicide-free wildlife areas and creation of a Bee Campus USA subcommittee of SOU’s Sustainability Council.
Colleges and universities may apply to become certified Bee Campuses after first forming leadership committees made up of faculty, staff and students. Those selected as Bee Campuses must commit to development of habitat plans, hosting of awareness events, development of courses or workshops that support pollinators, sponsorship and tracking of service-learning projects for students, posting of educational signs and maintaining a pollinator-related web presence.
They must also apply each year for renewal of their certification.