Why did Salisbury decide to join the Bee City USA program?
Bees and other insect pollinators comprise a very important, but physically small, cog in the machine of our ecosystem. Yes, they help make gardens beautiful, but, more importantly, 1 out of every 3 bites of your food got there because of a pollinator–whether you’re eating a vegetable or even beef that was fed by a cover crop. While there is an international issue with bees dying off at very high rates (one local apiary went from 55 hives to 4 over the winter) we can take steps locally to help bees by encouraging our citizens to plant more native pollinator plants and use fewer pesticides and herbicides. While the city was already taking steps internally to use less chemical product when landscaping and to plant more native plants, putting their efforts in writing and getting this designation will help the city receive more ‘green’ grants in the future. Salisbury is a Sustainable Maryland Certified city and is taking intentional steps to improve and to be an environmentally friendly place to live.
In regards to the “how” of the process, becoming a Bee City USA affiliate is rather simple. The City of Salisbury Sustainable Advisory Committee (Green Team) was approached by Mary Seemann of the Salisbury Zoo who mentioned the Bee City USA opportunity. Upon further investigation, the Green Team realized that the majority of the requirements to become a Bee City USA were already being met by the City. The first step to becoming a Bee City USA affiliate was to draft a resolution and get support from our Council and elected officials. By doing so, this opportunity provides us credit for our recertification process with Sustainable Maryland. Next steps, are to provide public information/education on pollinators and native species, host a Pollinator Week (Zoo currently hosts weather permitting), provide a website with Master Bee City USA plan showing locations where native species could be planted by the public (i.e. community gardens/parks), and finally dedicate an area of landscaping as a prominent pollinator area with a Bee City authorized sign.
Special Thanks to:
Lower Eastern Shore Beekeepers Group
Phyllis Stiles, Founder & Director of Bee City USA & Bee Campus USA