Lawrence University becomes Bee Campus certified

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Bees are getting some extra attention at Lawrence University after they were recently awarded the Bee Campus USA certification.

Honey bees were hard at work Thursday pollinating plants and producing honey in Appleton. This is a good sign for many in the biology department at Lawrence University as they try to develop a more bee friendly habitat on campus.

“Our goal here was basically to try to promote the health of our pollinators. So, one of the things we often talk to our students about is that pollinators and insects in general are on this global decline. So, we’re losing these insect populations at an interesting and alarming rate.” -Israel Del Toro Assistant Professor of Biology Lawrence University

Up to two-thirds of our food production which is dependent on insect pollination could be at risk with the decrease in population of the insects. This was part of the motivation for the university to receive the bee campus certification.

“This is only a tiny part of a broader sustainability effort. Yes, being bee certified and a bee campus is a great thing, but it also is an opportunity to educate our Lawrence community and the city of Appleton about the value of these little things that actually often get ignored, but are really valuable in our ecosystems.”

Foods such as strawberries, cherries, and apples are all dependent on bee pollination. Anyone can help promote a safe bee habitat by growing native plants around their home.

“Without bees you don’t get a fruit. And so, if we tally all of that up it’s called an ecosystem service value. And that value of that ecosystem service is over $16 billion annually. So, even though they’re little things, they’re contributing to a big part of the economy.”

Lawrence University and the city of Appleton became only the 12th school and city in the nation to both be designated for the Bee Campus and Bee City USA certification.

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