Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat
“Even to the smallest creatures, we should have care and respect. They are here to help us, not to hurt us.” – April Peerless
Bee City: Our First Year
2017 was the first year that Puyallup, WA was designated as a Bee City USA community. The purpose of becoming a Bee City is to support and encourage bee-friendly habitat creation and enhancement on both public and private land.
Puyallup’s Development Services team member and Mayor/Chair of the Bee Committee, Katie Baker, identified City property to be propagated with flowering plants and pollinator-friendly vegetation. Four plantings occurred in total at two separate sites. Native plants, with a mix of pollinators were used. Said locations of the plantings included: Silver Creek Restoration Site and Meeker Creek Restoration Site Examples of the plants include: Oregon grape, red-flowering currant, and oceanspray.
Policies & Practices
As a result of the designation (via Resolution No. 2314 of the City Council of the City of Puyallup) adopted on September 13, 2016 by the City Council, Puyallup City staff quickly and eagerly assembled a “Bee Committee” or “Anthophilia Committee.”
Shortly after receiving the Bee City designation, the City of Puyallup issued the following press release:
Puyallup was the second city in the state of Washington to receive an official “Bee City” designation from Bee City USA, a not-for-profit organization committed to developing and maintaining sustainable habitats for pollinators such as native bees and honey bees.
Crops in the Puyallup Valley such as berries, pumpkins, tomatoes and apples are produced in part with the natural pollination activity of bees. By receiving a Bee City designation, Puyallup will help further a healthy and vibrant ecosystem and food supply system, which in turn will benefit our local and regional economies.
“Whether it’s honey, bumble or Mason bees, these small, hardworking insects impact our lives daily,” said Puyallup City Councilmember Heather Shadko. “Smell a flower, eat a piece of fruit or have some honey; a bee helped create these and they need our help to continue their work.”
“Becoming a Bee City will be a great way for our community to support not just bees but all pollinators. It promotes education, gives us the opportunity to create sustainable habitat, and allows us to celebrate these remarkable pollinators. I am so excited that Puyallup is taking the steps to become an engaged and healthy environment for these amazing little creatures who give so much back to us.”
The 250-member Pierce County Beekeepers Association assisted the city in pursuing the Bee City designation.
“The City Council is showing leadership in their support of pollinator health and its importance to robust land systems and agriculture,” said Franclyn Heinecke, president of the Pierce County Beekeepers Association. “The City is already doing a lot to benefit pollinators, and we see those efforts only increasing in the future. We are encouraged by this action, and look forward to working together on this important initiative.”
Education & Outreach
The City of Puyallup held two outreach events in 2017. One was held at the Puyallup Public Library and the second at the Puyallup Farmer’s Market.
Puyallup Public Library Outreach Event-–On April 29, 2017, A City Staff member and member of the Bee Committee attended a community-building event hosted by Puyallup Rocks and the Puyallup Public Library. The purpose of the event was to educate the public and create opportunities for members of the community to get involved in big (and small) ways in helping support our local honeybee population.
125 pollinator seed packets (generously provided by the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association) were distributed to individuals, including a large number of school-aged children. A presentation board was assembled with honeybee facts and information on the powerful role bees play in our daily lives. City Staff stayed for three hours, answering questions and educating community members.
As part of the promotion, Puyallup Rocks initiated a honeybee rock painting challenge to help spread the word.
Farmer’s Market Outreach Event–On Saturday, June 24, 2017, as part of National Pollinators Month, the City of Puyallup hosted a booth at the Puyallup Farmer’s Market to educate the public on honeybees and our status as a Bee City. City Staff and Councilmembers passed out over 200 pollinator seed packets (provided by the Puget Sound Beekeeper’s Association).
Washington State University’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center staff members donated several mason bee houses for demonstration purposes. Along with the mason bee houses, City Staff passed out simple instructions on how to build a mason bee house at home.
To engage people walking by the booth, staff passed out honeybee trivia questions. People had the opportunity to “dip their hand in the honey jar” and pull out a trivia question. Regardless of whether they had the right answer or not, City staff took a moment to share honeybee facts and gave each participant a honey stick from a local honeybee farm.
The booth included: an educational poster on display with honeybee facts, library books on bees, and several printouts including plants native to our region that are pollinator friendly and easy to grow from home.
Signage–In the final months of 2017, we had two Bee City USA designation signs placed in two separate locations in Puyallup. While more may be placed in the future, the two existing signs are located at: South Meridian (visible northbound between 17th Ave SE and 19th Ave SE) and 21st Ave SW (visible northbound at the corner of 9th St SW and 21st Ave SW).
The City of Puyallup has very much enjoyed our first year as a Bee City USA designated Bee City in 2017, and desires to expand our outreach efforts even more next year.