Decatur, GA – 2017 Annual Report

Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat

Working with our city liaison, Beecatur is helping to facilitate the conversion of a 3/4-acre, city-owned property into Decatur’s first official  pollinator garden. Planting is proposed for April 2018. In addition to pitching in with the planting itself, Beecatur will be helping to coordinate involvement by the neighborhood and community groups.

Our communications efforts have included writing and submitting a series of short articles for publication in the city’s monthly magazine. These “blurbs” are designed to educate the public about bees and what they can do in their own back yards to make a difference in sustaining them.  Topics included subjects we are most often asked about:  mosquito abatement services, where bees go in winter, how homeowners can help bees thrive, and yellowjackets. Throughout the year, we produced and distributed information about bee-friendly practices and local bee identification

Policies & Practices

In 2017, Beecatur started to find its footing, both in the community and as an organization. We worked hard to establish connections in the schools and with city boards to get our message out. We hope to build on that momentum in the year ahead.  Some organizational milestones:

• Grew committee from five to nine members

• Held 11 monthly meetings (with exception of December)

• Partnered with Agnes Scott College Bee Campus project

Education & Outreach

National Pollinator Week was a focus of several educational events aimed at the community at-large. Beecatur sponsored a public screening of the timely, short documentary “A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee.” We tabled at this event with educational hand-outs about bees found in the Decatur area and plants that support native bee species. In conjunction with the film, we presented a photography talk with a local photographer who specializes in photographing native bees. A pollinator “walk and talk” was conducted in a city park led by a landscape designer contracted by the city; we again tabled at this event with educational hand-outs and literature. In 2018, we are planning to make National Pollinator Week a city-wide celebration!

Some of our most important (and enjoyable) work was done with school children. In one instance, we built a bee presentation around the learner attribute of “collaboration” and introduced the class to the many ways a honey bee colony must work together in order to build and protect their home, raise their young and produce food to survive the winter. We created an activity that reinforced the idea of working together where children moved colorful pom-pom “pollen” and “nectar” from flowers back to their “hive.” Other efforts included:

• Reached out to city school teachers to inform them of our availability to make in-class presentations

• Presented bee-related programming to a 2nd grade class

• Presented bee-related programming to a pre-K class

• Met with 7th grade instructor to advise about planned addition of honeybee colonies to middle school pollinator garden

• Assisted 7th grade 4H student with honeybee study project

• Suggested bee-related service projects to a troop of girl scouts

• Presented to the city Environmental Sustainability Board about our activities and plans

• Raised money for Beecatur via baked goods and honey sale during local music festival; tabled at this event with education hand-outs about bees and plants

Local Website & Contact Information

In 2017, Beecatur made great strides online, finally getting our website built and our social media feeds active!

• Actively posted to social media at Facebook (@BeeCityUSADecaturGA), Instagram (@BeecaturGA) and Twitter (@BeecaturGA) growing our followers and increasing our reach

• Developed and built out our web site (www.BeecaturGA.com). It  features the photography of one our talented committee members and showcases the diversity of bees found in the backyards of Decatur homeowners.

• Facilitated and documented on social media the capture and hiving of a honeybee swarm outside a city elementary school — our most liked, most shared social media posting of the year!!!!

• Set up an online fundraising merchandise store at Cafe Press to sell Beecatur products (cafepress.com/beecatur)