(Asheville, North Carolina) — The North Carolina Arboretum, a public garden and affiliate of the University of North Carolina system, and Bee Campus USA are pleased to announce the Arboretum as the seventh educational institution in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators.
The Arboretum’s Executive Director George Briggs said, “We are proud to be named the seventh certified Bee Campus USA in the nation and the first campus in North Carolina. As an affiliate of the University of North Carolina system, the Arboretum works hard to provide our members, visitors and students with educational opportunities that align with both our mission and the University. Bee Campus USA is a terrific organization and we are excited to have them as a partner to help us grow our program even further.”
As part of the Bee Campus USA certification, the Arboretum will focus its 2016 Seasonal Landscape Exhibits program on plants and nesting sites for pollinator species. Seasonally-planted landscapes and container gardens will contain plant selections that support foods – both pollen and nectar – for insects and birds. In addition, the Arboretum’s newly renovated Quilt Garden is designed using its “Butterfly” pattern, which supports and calls attention to the life cycle and biology behind butterflies, including the famous Monarch.
In addition to creating and enhancing pollinator-focused landscapes on its campus, the Arboretum works with volunteers and other outside organizations to create pollinator gardens in the community. “Learning through service is a core value of our educational institution,” commented Clara Curtis, senior director for mission delivery at The North Carolina Arboretum. “For example, our partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific is enabling the establishment of pollinator gardens at five local schools and our ecoEXPLORE initiative is helping us create similar features at all twelve branches of the Buncombe County Public Library System. We are extremely excited about all of these efforts to increase awareness about the benefits of pollinators in our region.”
Phyllis Stiles, director of Bee Campus USA said, “Imperiled pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of more than three-quarters of the world’s plant and tree species. The Arboretum is a stellar example of the influence educational institutions can have on their visitors, students and larger communities. Their talented staff, volunteers and students offer an invaluable resource for western North Carolina residents who are seeking ways to manage ornamental landscapes in more wildlife-friendly ways.”
Beyond its seasonal plantings, the Arboretum hosts several pollinator-related events throughout the year. The Arboretum’s annual Monarch Butterfly Day, scheduled for September 17, 2016, offers hands-on demonstrations, family-friendly activities and educational programs focused on Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. To better serve the green industry, the Arboretum also hosts an annual Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Symposium, which highlights the use of beneficial insects to manage pests on greenhouse, nursery and farm crops. This conference is co-hosted with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and attendees are eligible to obtain pesticide credits and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from several states. For more information on the Arboretum’s pollinator program, please visit www.ncarboretum.org/pollinator.
As part of the Bee Campus USA certification, the Arboretum established a specific Bee Campus USA committee to develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan and include a locally-native, pollinator-friendly plant list with regional sources for such plants and a least toxic IPM plan. The plant list and IPM plan will be publicized and available on ncarboretum.org/pollinator as a way to offer a valuable landscape-management model applicable to other local landscapes. All Bee City Campuses must reapply each year and report their accomplishments from the previous year. Other educational campuses interested in obtaining their certification can visit the application process outlined at beecampususa.org.
Additionally, in honor of National Pollinator Week, June 16 – 25, 2016, the Arboretum and the Asheville/Hendersonville affiliates of Bee City USA will host a pollinator presentation inside the Arboretum’s Education Center on Tuesday, June 21 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Heather Holm, acclaimed author of Pollinators and Native Plants, will present two programs, “Gardening for Bees, Butterflies & Beneficial Insects” and “Selecting Native Trees and Shrubs that Support Pollinators,” and will also be available for a book signing. Registration is required and a suggested five dollar donation will be collected at the door. For more information on the event, please visit www.ncarboretum.org/events.