Hennepin Technical College was recently named Bee Campus USA, an honor that recognizes college campuses nationwide that protect pollinators. The nonprofit group Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation awards the certification.
Hennepin Tech is the fourth college in Minnesota and the 90th in the U.S. to be named a Bee Campus. Because the college offers several associate degrees in its Landscaping, Greenhouse and Gardening program, supporting pollinators is part of the curriculum. Students learn landscaping techniques, maintain gardens and grow native plants during classes.
“We are delighted to have earned the Bee Campus title because of our efforts to champion sustainable environmental practices,” said Dr. Merrill Irving Jr., president, HTC. “Students are gaining skills and knowledge that are valuable for their careers and communities as they help ensure a better future for pollinators in our region.”
An Hennepin Technical College advisory committee planned the campus pollinator program which includes creating native plant habitats, providing nesting sites and greatly limiting the use of pesticides. Students and alumni volunteer their time to maintain four active beehives on campus. In addition to bees, the campus gardens are designed to attract a wide variety of pollinators such as butterflies, insects and birds.
To raise awareness about the alarming decline of pollinators, HTC provides educational opportunities for the campus and surrounding communities with workshops to educate the public about beekeeping and native plants. Pollinators are responsible for the production of nearly 90% of all flowering plant species. It is estimated that pollinators help produce one in every three bites of food that we eat.