City is first “Bee City USA” in Indiana

Columbus is now the first city in Indiana to become an affiliate of Bee City USA, an initiative that seeks to make communities across the country better homes to pollinators.

The Columbus Pollinator Committee, which is facilitating the local Bee City USA program, announced that Columbus’s affiliation is now official.

Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and is aimed at getting communities to preserve pollinators — and native species of bees in particular — by providing habitats with plenty of native plants, nest sites and protection from pesticides.

There are 146 Bee City USA affiliates and 124 affiliates in its sister initiative, Bee Campus USA. Indiana currently has five Bee Campuses, but Columbus is its only Bee City.

“The affiliation stipulates that Columbus will create and enhance pollinator habitats on public and private land by increasing the abundance of native plants, incorporate pollinator-friendly practices into city policies and plans such as reduction of pesticide use, and host pollinator awareness events,” Bee City USA officials said.

The committee’s work will include offering public programming and resources about increasing pollinator habitats, advocating for “smart policy decisions,” and working with the city and private landowners on “more sustainable land use practices.” Committee officials also promised to make sure Columbus is an “exemplary Bee City USA.”

“The Columbus Pollinator Committee thanks the City of Columbus for adopting the Bee City USA resolution,” said committee chair Eric Riddle in a statement. “We look forward to working with the City and private partners to advance our vision for a more sustainable, biodiverse, and exciting environment that benefits us all.”

The committee also hopes that IUPUC and Ivy Tech will achieve Bee Campus USA status in the near future.

The Columbus Pollinator Committee began in 2017 and represents many local organizations, including the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department, which is sponsoring Columbus’s Bee City USA program.