Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat
Housed as a subcommittee of the MUSC Arboretum Board, MUSC BeeCampus is a subsidiary organization of BeeCampus USA. MUSC BeeCampus works to marshal the strengths of the campus for the benefit of pollinators. We seek to raise awareness of the role pollinators’ play in sustaining three-fourths of the world’s plant species.
MUSC seeks to incorporate an inclusive pollinator strategy to promote pollinators in our landscape. We are working to reach this goal through four main avenues.
1) Enhanced Landscape Planning and Maintenance
Improving and adjusting our landscape planning and execution to promote a cohesive habitat that serves both pollinators and the MUSC community
2) Urban Pollinator Habitats
Promoting and providing areas throughout campus that supply shelter and water for pollinators to utilize while maintaining the safety of visitors, students, and employees at MUSC
3) Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Maintenance
Utilizing an ecosystem-based strategy for long term prevention of landscape pests and their damage through a number of mechanical and biological techniques specific to the Lowcountry of South Carolina
4) Education and Outreach to the Community
Serving as a living resource for other campuses and communities through educational opportunities and demonstrations of best practices for pollinators and people
MUSC is committed to utilizing more native and perennial plants in the campus landscape to improve water retention, livability, coastal adaptation, and pollinator improvement. In 2016 we took an inventory of all the “pollinator friendly” trees, perennial shrubs and flowers on campus to determine what percentage of the campus landscape was native and pollinator friendly.We are now working to introduce and maintain a variety of additional native flowering species for both nectar and foraging.
In 2017 we built multiple pollinator “hotels” and left debris to promote sanctuaries for native pollinators. We also maintained an active honey bee hive on campus.
Policies & Practices
The MUSC Grounds Department seeks to utilize better Integrated Pest Management IPM) strategies as a way to reduce and eventually eliminate unnecessary use of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. In order to do this we will first determine the current operations and methods used throughout campus. We developed an IPM assessment survey for the Grounds Department and conducted initial interviews with the main maintenance staff. In 2018 we will analyze the information gathered and develop a plan forward to implement and improve the IPM strategy throughout campus now based on the results.
Education & Outreach
The MUSC campus hosted multiple community presentations and workshops focusing on urban pollinator habitats, BeeCampus certification process, and beekeeping. These events were open to students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. We conducted three grade school tours and presentations to community schools on the importance of pollinators.
In 2017, we sought to train operators and educators within the Grounds Department on the importance of pollinators as an integral part of the campus ecosystem. The entire landscaping team received classroom and field exercise Bee Training from the beekeepers at the BeeCause Project, an educational non-profit partner. The team is now able to properly identify bee activity and respond with safe and effective means. They are also able to inform others on campus of the campus pollinator activity, thus spreading educational awareness.
MUSC was represented at the Charleston Area Beekeepers Association Bee Exposition. Our table highlighted all the food that would be lost without pollinators.
We conducted large pollinator habitat builds, along with smaller bamboo shelters for students to take home. We installed multiple pollinator friendly garden spaces with the help of students, staff, and faculty. Among the pollinator friendly plantings are different varieties of natives and native perennial plants that serve as foraging and nectar sources for pollinators.
MUSC does not have a designated curricula to focus on pollinators. However, informational pamphlets and workshops are offered seasonally at the MUSC Urban Farm highlighting gardening for pollinators, organic plant care, and the importance of pollinators in the things that are consumed by humans.
Informational signage about our honeybee hives and pollinator friendly landscaping was temporarily established.