The mission to heal the hive and protect the pollinators is a poignant reflection of thinking globally and acting locally. While the importance of pollination is felt worldwide, the needs of pollinators and their host plants varies as much as the global communities who steward them.
A small group of warm hearted people from the Buncombe County Chapter of the NC State Beekeepers Association in Asheville, North Carolina decided to take their activism away from the big playing fields of international politics and biotech companies and down to the communities where the impact is most felt.
The group formed a grassroots community project with the Center for Honeybee Research called Bee City USA. This exciting program uses a thorough application and certification process to create a network of cities that are certified friendly to honeybees and other pollinators. Asheville City Council voted to become the inaugural Bee City USA on June 26, 2012. As of summer 2013 Asheville, North Carolina made it official with the installation of a street sign right in the center of downtown on College Street.
Heal the Hive was excited to be present in Asheville for the sign posting ceremony, held downtown on Monday, September 16th in Pack Square. The brief and lighthearted event was attended by about 30 bee lovers and the local news, and hosted by Phyllis Stiles of Bee City USA and her sign holding worker bees, Carl Chesik and Richard Stiles.
After expressing many thank yous to the groups and community members who supported the mission, Phyllis took the time to stress how important urban pollinator havens have turned out to be in the midst of a global decline. There are often fewer pesticides and a wider variety of flowering plants in cities that plant an array of flowers and have designated areas for weeds and local wildflowers. Inspiring words offered, the official Bee City USA sign was unveiled to the public to round of applause and cheers.
Asheville has already started a trend. The representatives from Bee City USA were happy to report that several other cities in the country have expressed interest and begun taking the steps to officially support their own local pollinators. Keep your eyes on Heal the Hive’s Project Partners for future collaborations with this wonderful group!