Posts

SOU remains a Bee Campus USA

SOU – the nation’s first Bee Campus – keeps its designation

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University – which collaborated with Bee City USA to develop guidelines for Bee Campus certification in 2015 – has been recertified as a Bee Campus USA for a fifth consecutive year.

Colleges and universities are awarded the honor of being a Bee Campus based on the rigorous criteria of the Bee City USA organization, an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. SOU helped create the Bee Campus award after being inspired by two early adopters of the Bee City designation – Ashland and neighboring Talent.

There are 98 Bee Campuses across the United States, including four other colleges in Oregon: Lane Community College and University of Oregon in Eugene, and Portland Community College and Portland State University in Portland.

SOU’s place as a Bee Campus is hard-earned – students and faculty maintain over a dozen pollinator-friendly gardens, two pollinator-friendly beds, herbicide-free wildlife areas and a subcommittee of SOU’s Sustainability Council dedicated to bees and other pollinators. The work is recognized not only by Bee City USA, but also from the Sierra Club, which named SOU the nation’s top pollinator-friendly college in 2018.

The university’s dedication to pollinators is a key element of its commitment to sustainability. A third of all food is produced due to insect pollination, while 90 percent of wild plants and trees require pollinators to reproduce.

It is generally believed that the decline in honey bee populations is caused by a complex combination of factors – including diseases, parasites, mono-cropping and exposure to insecticides, herbicides and fungicides – that progressively weaken the bees’ individual and collective immune systems.

Colleges and universities that apply to become certified 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.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

-SOU-

Pollinator Friendly

Cool School: SOU named nation’s top pollinator-friendly campus

NEWS RELEASE

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University – which became the original Bee Campus USA three years ago – has been named the nation’s top pollinator-friendly college by the Sierra Club, as part of its annual “Cool Schools” rankings.

“Besides the fact that the campus boasts more than a dozen pollinator gardens, professors have taken students out to create bee habitats for the campus farm and to collect native flower seeds to sow the in arboretum,” the Sierra Club wrote of SOU.

The environmental group picked what it considered to be the top 14 schools out of 50 campuses across the country that have been certified for the Bee Campus USA list, administered by the Bee City USA organization. SOU topped a Sierra Club list that included both small and large institutions – including Georgia Tech (No. 2), University of Missouri, Columbia (No. 10), Auburn University (No. 11) and University of Central Florida (No. 14).

“Student engagement between the environmental science students and the Landscape Department at SOU has made it possible for us to change the culture surrounding the urban campus environment,” said Mike Oxendine, SOU’s landscaping superintendent.

“Where we once tended manicured lawns, we now tend pollinator gardens and wildlife habitat,” he said. “We are adapting to the changing climate by making the SOU campus landscape a resilient and safe place for pollinators and other forms of wildlife.”

SOU is now one of four Bee Campus USA schools in Oregon, but is the only one to make the Sierra Club list. The University of Oregon, Portland State University and Portland Community College are the state’s other Bee Campus USA institutions.

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.

-SOU-