Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat
In 2017, the University of Arkansas’ Pollinator Committee celebrated the adoption of a new, updated Campus Planting List. The list improvements included the removal of an invasive species, English Ivy, and the addition of several native pollinator-friendly species. This Planting List will inform all future planting on our campus, leading to a campus landscape that is continually more ecologically viable and pollinator friendly.
The Office for Sustainability (OFS) also continued its funding of a four-year doctoral fellowship to explore policies and practices that could better protect and restore habitat for Monarch butterflies in Northwest Arkansas and across the U.S.
Additionally, the the University of Arkansas (U of A) has several faculty focused on pollinator related research, from native plantings, to better bee keeping methods, to minimization of pesticide use.
Policies & Practices
In 2017, the U of A OFS began a collaboration with U of A Facilities Management to create better policy around No Mow Zones on campus. These zones are designed to give pollinators a hiatus on campus where they can find healthy food, such as from purple clovers and dandelions. This partnership hopes to develop a way to educate workers and our campus community on the importance of these zones, as well as their proper maintenance.
Education & Outreach
The University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability celebrated our status as a certified Bee Campus USA at our annual Earth Day Block Party. The Block Party, which culminated a week long celebration of Earth Week, included members of our Horticulture club who gave away pollinator friendly plants, TriCycle Farms, a local organic farm, who educated students on ecologically healthy gardening, and OFS interns, who educated students about sustainability initiatives on campus, including pollinator health.
The University of Arkansas also hosts Beekeeping workshops all over the State through our Division of Agriculture Research & Extension. This three day course teaches participants how to safety and sustainably keep bees.
Several Invasive Species Removal events hosted by the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability took place during the 2017 calendar year. These volunteer events were attended by staff, faculty, and students. The removals served not only to clean out damaging species, such as japanese honeysuckle and periwinkle, from our campus natural spaces, but as an opportunity to teach participants about the importance of native species. These removals were a step towards restructuring our natural areas to be friendly to our native pollinators.
Students also maintain a community garden on campus that features blooming vegetable crops. Several of the students served as part of their volunteer requirement for our campus Sustainability classes.
The University of Arkansas offered several pollinator related courses in 2017. Both the basic Biology and Entomology course feature materials focused on pollinators and pollination. The Spring featured a class in Insect Pest Management, designed to teach students the best practices in managing insect populations while not upsetting local ecosystems. The Spring semester also featured an Apiculture class, focused on honeybees. This class included a lab where students got hands on beekeeping experience.
2017 saw the creation of a Sustainability Signage Campaign proposal for the University. This proposal included signage that focused on highlighting the pollinator benefits of various greenspaces on campus, as well as signage celebrating our campus’ certification as a Bee Campus USA.
Additionally, bee focused infograpgics were designed and distributed around our campus to bring awareness to the benefits of these vital pollinators.