Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat
Randolph College has made multiple efforts to improve the campus pollinator habitat. Student interns are working with the College’s sustainability coordinator, grounds staff, and biology professors to develop a formal habitat plan. Last spring, students in the organic gardening physical education class planted pollinator-friendly flowers at the Randolph College Organic Garden, and no-mow areas were established around the garden’s beehives. President Brad Bateman is enthusiastic about our Bee Campus efforts, and has offered financial and administrative support for future campus habitat development.
Policies & Practices
Randolph College Buildings & Grounds have been using limited fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides for years, utilizing cultural pest and weed control methods. The forthcoming habitat plan will seek to eliminate use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides altogether.
Education & Outreach
The Randolph College Sustainability Council and student Environmental Club hosted many educational events in 2017. The Sustainability Council ran two Bee Campus activities during the Randolph College Science Festival weekend, held annually for local children and their parents. In the activities, children made “seed balls” using native pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds, loamy soil, clay soil, and water. The activity leaders discussed the importance of pollinators and ways to improve pollinator habitats. The Environmental Club ran a few events for Randolph students, including a cob workshop where students built habitats for solitary bees, and a bat appreciate day in October. The event featured bat-related crafts, fun buttons, and information on Virginia bats, white-nose syndrome, the importance of bats as pollinators, and bat conservation efforts. Sustainability interns also ran an informational table on pollinators at a Lynchburg Parks & Recreation public event.
An environmental studies student interned with Lynchburg Parks & Recreation to design a butterfly garden for a city park near Randolph’s campus. As stated above, students in the organic gardening course planted pollinator-friendly flowers in the Randolph College Organic Garden.
Randolph has no formal pollinator curriculum, but multiple courses from the Environmental Studies & Science, Biology, and Philosophy departments include courses or units on pollinator ecology, native plant ecology, and conservation.
Last spring, temporary signage was placed next to two mining bee nests that are near high-traffic areas on campus. The signs said “LEAVE US BEE! We are harmless mining bees and help pollinate the beautiful flowers on campus. We don’t sting!”. A Bee Campus intern is designing permanent signage for this year.