Thanks to a dedicated group of students, the University of Texas at Austin is now certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. UT Austin joins many other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.
“The Bee Campus USA Certification gives merit to our ongoing efforts promoting sustainable management of the UT campus landscape. Use of organic fertilizers, limited use of pesticides, building soil health, removing invasive trees and replanting with native species has benefitted not only bees, but all pollinators and life in this urban ecosystem,” said Jennifer Hrobar, Supervisor of Urban Forestry, Landscape Services.
With support from former President Fenves, members of the BEEVO Beekeeping Society student organization successfully applied for the Xerces Society’s Bee Campus USA Certification in May. The certification is the result of a wonderfully collaborative effort to meet the certification requirements:
- BEEVO students conduct outreach to students interested in honey bees and native solitary bees
- Dr.’s Jha and Moran regularly offer courses that feature pollinators and native pollinator habitat
- Jennifer Hrobar and UT Landscape Services are committed to planting and maintaining pollinator friendly gardens
- The UT Biodiversity Center graciously agreed to host the UT Austin Bee Campus USA website
- The Office of Sustainability is funding the annual certification fee and providing administrative support
The UT Austin Bee Campus Committee views the certification as an opportunity to build on the good work accomplished to date and looks forward to collaborating with student organizations, faculty, and staff that share a love of pollinators. This includes Campus Environmental Center’s Half-Pint Prairie, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and Brackenridge Field Laboratory.
UT Austin’s recent Bee Campus Certification would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Laurel Treviño, Outreach Program Coordinator for the Jha lab. Laurel’s dedication to public education and campus partnerships is helping to build community and make UT Austin more pollinator friendly. The Bee Campus Committee would like to formally recognize Laurel’s contribution to the effort. As Laurel stated on a recent post, “UT offers 14 non-academic and credit courses that include pollinators in their syllabi. Field-lab and biological-station directors coordinate research and educational projects involving pollinators, and 2 websites inform educators, naturalists and landowners about native bees. We even take our Longhorn bees to the rodeo!”
Emily Mitchell, President of BEEVO Beekeeping Society said, “Being recognized as Bee Campus by the Xerces Society is a proud achievement since we were able to come together as a campus community to build a more sustainable environment for the native pollinators to thrive. With this recognition we can continue to move forward in creating a space that supports and protects pollinators and their native biodiversity."
Photo credit: Kathryn Gatliff