Asheville GreenWorks is pleased to announce that it is now the organizational home of the Bee City USA Asheville affiliate.
Bee City USA is a national nonprofit launched in 2012 that galvanizes communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free to nearly free of pesticides. It fosters ongoing dialogue in urban and suburban areas to raise awareness of the role and importance of pollinators.
“Bringing Bee City USA Asheville under our umbrella of programs is a natural fit for Asheville GreenWorks,” says GreenWorks Executive Director Dawn Chávez. “Our Green Communities program focus includes things like our Food Tree Project, which wouldn’t be possible without bees and other pollinators. We are proud to carry forward this important initiative in our community.”
Asheville was the nation’s inaugural Bee City, with its chapter established in 2012 by Bee City USA founder and director Phyllis Stiles. Today, there are sixty city and campus affiliates in 26 states.
“From the beginning, Asheville GreenWorks lent Bee City USA a hand, loaning us equipment for our launch party and meeting space for our steering committee,” says Stiles. “During their annual garden tour they let us highlight pollinator-friendly gardening principles. No other organization is better suited to facilitate Asheville’s Bee City USA program, in coordination with the Asheville Tree Commission, than GreenWorks. They are adept at mobilizing volunteers, including kids, to get their hands dirty for a great cause.”
While pollinators are responsible for 1 in 3 bites of the food we eat and the reproduction of 90% of the world’s wild plant species, many pollinator species are at risk due to habitat loss and misuse of pesticides.
Among many pollinator installation projects, GreenWorks/Bee City USA Asheville will be working this spring with Glen Arden Elementary School’s Eco Readers club to install a pollinator garden at the school with funding from a Project Learning Tree grant. Students learn as they work, with a series of outdoor programs and extensions that keep them engaged for long after the first planting. This year’s annual Pollination Celebration! will span the month of June with a series of events to celebrate pollinators, the benefits they provide, and the importance of protecting and creating pollinator-friendly habitat in Asheville. Partners from around the community will lead educational and interactive events to learn about bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Asheville GreenWorks welcomes past volunteers of local Bee City USA activities to continue working with the group in its new organizational home. To learn more or to get involved with Bee City USA Asheville, visit the chapter’s Facebook page at facebook.com/beecityasheville/. For more information about Bee City USA’s national efforts, visit beecityusa.org.