LAKE CITY — Lake City officially became the first city in South Carolina, and the 15th city in the nation, to become a certified Bee City USA on Nov. 20.
Ashley Jacobs, Community Museum Society (CMS) executive director, and Hunter Deas, CMS facilities and rentals manager, made a presentation on Nov. 10 to Lake City’s City Council members, who then voted unanimously to become a Bee City USA.
This completed the efforts of the City of Lake City, CMS, and Moore Farms Botanical Garden (MFBG) to accomplish this certification. The Bee City USA program recognized Lake City’s efforts by awarding the city its certification.
Bee City USA is a non-profit national organization which encourages city leaders to celebrate and raise awareness of the contribution bees and other pollinators make to our world by making a set of commitments, defined in a resolution, for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators.
Deas, a hobbyist beekeeper, first heard about Bee City USA during a presentation earlier this year at the Buncombe County/Center for Honeybee Research Spring Bee School. Deas was quick to make a connection between the goals of the Bee City USA program and existing programs in Lake City, a historically agricultural community already in full support of pollinators.
“When I heard about the Bee City USA program, already passionate about bees, agriculture, and pollinators at large, I was immediately excited by the thought of Lake City becoming a Bee City USA,” Deas said.
Shawn Bell, city administrator for the City of Lake City, said that he was proud of Lake City becoming a certified Bee City USA community.
“The fact that we are the first in South Carolina, and are joining a list of certified cities that include Asheville, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington, is truly remarkable,” Bell said. “This unique recognition would not be possible without the City of Lake City’s strong partnerships with Moore Farms Botanical Garden and the Lake City Beautification Committee.”
Deas expressed that he was glad to see the Lake City’s leadership so willing to make the city more pollinator-friendly, and that the Bee City USA program was able to provide a way for the community to come together to reach that goal.
“I think that it is wonderful [for Lake City] to be able to highlight the plight of the honeybee, and that Bee City USA has created a vehicle to not only address the issues facing honeybees, but all pollinators, and that the program’s approach is such an inclusive, community-based initiative,” Deas said.
Bee City USA founder and director, Phyllis Stiles, cited the potential for long-term gain for both pollinators and local community members when she explained the program’s benefits.
“The program aspires to make people more PC — pollinator conscious — that is,” Stiles said. “If lots of individuals and communities begin planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials, it will create large-scale change for thousands of species of pollinators at risk — including honeybees we all depend on for our food production. How each city celebrates pollinators is up to them, but we especially encourage educational programs for children, like school gardens. When a child falls in love with pollinators, they are friends for life.”
According to Deas, during the process of applying for the certification, a number of organizations were brought into the discussions, including the Lake City Partnership Council (LCPC). The City agreed to assign facilitation of the local Bee City USA program to CMS, a Lake City non-profit organization. Deas and Jacobs, along with City Administrator Shawn Bell, Rob Bockman of the LCPC and Kathleen Dickson, MFBG horticulturist, were named to the committee for Lake City’s efforts to engage the community in promoting pollinator-friendliness.
A designated Bee City USA is expected to annually celebrate being a Bee City USA community with a proclamation and public awareness activities; publicly acknowledge commitment to the program through signage and web links; and annually report activities to Bee City USA to renew the certification. Lake City will celebrate National Pollinator Week in the third week of June.
For more information about the Bee City USA organization, visit www.beecityusa.org, or email Director Phyllis Stiles at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Lake City Bee City USA program, contact Hunter Deas at 843-374-1500 or email@example.com.
The story courtesy of S.C. News Exchange.