Inver Hills Community College has become the 83rd educational institution in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program and the first in Minnesota.
The program is designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. Inver Hills joins more than 150 other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.
Randi Goettl who helped start the Bee Campus USA initiative at Inver Hills said, “It’s important to create awareness regarding these issues so we can all become environmentally conscious. So I asked myself, what can I do about it? One topic of environmental health that is often overlooked is the importance and status of pollinators. Pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, and support other wildlife. I decided to take the lead on making Inver Hills Community College a Bee Campus as this initiative fits beautifully into our values, especially highlighting caring for our environmental, human and financial resources. The campus wide and community support of creating a committee and applying to be certified has been invigorating. I look forward to see what our first-year entails.”
Mary Thompson, a faculty member on the committee, said, “The committee is composed of folks from throughout the college; it is serving not only as a forum for ideas related to sustainability, but as the center of conversations about new campus collaborations. We are beginning to discuss new academic programming, community engagement and service projects, campus enhancements, and other innovations. It is an exciting time and project.”
As the Inver Hills Bee Committee gets going, Goettl said the group has a number of initiatives planned including: collaborating with the Annual Research Committee in co-hosting the conference, holding an Earth Day celebration event on campus, and starting a designated pollinator garden.
Committee member Rachel Marzahn takes pride in the Inver Hills’ commitment to minimizing hazards to pollinators by using nearly no neonicotinoid pesticides, glyphosate herbicide or other potentially dangerous pesticides.
“Basically, we need bees for 33 percent of the food we eat—food like apples, cucumbers, cocoa and alfalfa, the latter feeds our dairy cows. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world without chocolate or dairy,” she said.
To raise awareness about the plight of pollinators, Inver Hills will publish a webpage to disseminate information to the campus and external communities including Integrated Pest Management Plan, a list of native plants incorporated into the campus landscape including their bloom time and habitat needs, links to student and faculty research into pollinator issues, and information about upcoming events.
For more information about Inver Hills Bee Campus USA program, contact Randi Goettl at 651-450-3884 or RGoettl@inverhills.edu.
For more information about Bee Campus USA, visit https://www.beecityusa.org.