After a rigorous renewal application process, the University of Illinois Chicago has been recertified as a 2019 Bee Campus USA. The designation, which currently has been given to 104 colleges and universities, recognizes campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds and bats, among thousands of other species.
UIC was the first certified bee campus in Illinois and has established yearly activities to engage the campus community in enhancing pollinator habitat both on and off campus since receiving that initial designation in 2007. Bee Campus affiliates commit to do the following:
- Establish a standing Bee Campus USA committee to advocate for pollinators
- Create and enhance pollinator habitat on campus by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides
- Offer service-learning projects to enhance pollinator habitat
- Display signage focused on pollinator conservation
- Offer courses or continuing education opportunities that incorporate pollinator conservation
- Maintain an online presence for Bee Campus USA activities
UIC’s Bee Campus USA committee is chaired by Alan Molumby, Department of Biological Sciences. Committee members include a diverse group of faculty, staff and students from Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center, Energy Resource Center, President’s Award Program, Facilities Management (Grounds), Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management, Department of Urban Planning and Policy, and the Department of Biological Sciences.
Habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change have led to declining pollinator populations around the world. Bee Campus USA, an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, brings campus communities together to sustain pollinators by creating and enhancing habitat, reducing pesticide use and spreading awareness. Pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths, bats and hummingbirds are responsible for the reproduction of 85% of the world’s flowering plants and more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species.
“As a Bee Campus, UIC continues to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to finding new opportunities to increase pollinator populations and raising awareness of the vital role pollinators play in supporting our planet’s ecosystems and food systems,” said Lisa Sanzenbacher, assistant director for sustainability programs.
The program also supports the university’s Climate Commitments, which recognize the impact of climate change and provide aspirational goals that offer visionary solutions for the future.
“Being a Bee Campus USA supports UIC’s Climate Commitment — Biodiverse Campus by supporting and enhancing biodiverse habitats for a variety of urban pollinators,” said Cynthia Klein-Banai, assistant vice chancellor and director of sustainability.
Visit the Sustainability website to learn more about UIC’s pollinator habitats and programs. You also can view UIC’s 2019 Bee Campus USA annual report along with those of other campuses at http://beecityusa.org/annual-reports-campus-2019.