Bee Campus Collaborations

Bee Campus USA is a nationwide program to raise awareness and support of pollinators across universities. Bee Campuses commit to taking actions that help to establish a sustainable and healthy habitat for pollinators. As part of becoming a Bee Campus USA in 2018, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has committed to evolving its landscapes, lifestyles, and mindsets to be more pollinator-friendly. Facilities & Services (F&S) Landscape Architect Brent Lewis put forth the initial idea to attain Bee Campus status at the U of I. He quickly found volunteer students to lead the day to day efforts. “We have a decline over the nation in pollinators; we need to find ways to bring that native ecosystem back into our urban environment," said Lewis. He was then involved in collaborative efforts to find volunteer students to assist with the day-to-day efforts that were required.

The above video was produced as a course project for ESE 497: Multimedia Environmental Communications at the University of Illinois.
The Urbana campus was the first Big Ten university certified as a Bee Campus USA. The project aligns with objectives in the F&S Strategic Plan for promoting sustainability and supporting the university's education and research. The program aims to raise awareness and to conserve native pollinator species: “pollinators are crucial for the ecosystem and essential for the native plants and food supply," said Lesley Deem, director of the U of I Pollinatarium
 

Bee Campus efforts are in the early stages of establishing many academic collaboration and research opportunities for different campus units. The majority of pollinator pocket projects have been funded through the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC). Like the Bee Campus USA initiative, the SSC is student-led. They prioritize project requests that are student-initiated. The majority of pollinator pocket projects have been funded through the SSC.  F&S oversees Bee Campus USA certification and has undertaken ownership and administrative responsibilities such as submitting annual fees, ensuring that the requirements are met for the yearly submittal process.

"Being Bee Campus USA is a tremendous achievement for the university that emphasizes our commitment to sustainability and world-class research. We’re excited to show the rest of the world how we are making a difference," said Lewis.