Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat
The City of Whiteville, NC became a certified Bee City USA in the spring of 2016. Two members of the Columbus County Beekeepers Association attended the new affiliate training by Bee City USA near Asheville. Those members, Steve Smith and Patrick Dwyer, joined others to become the Pollinator Committee, guiding the program. Whiteville, NC is a town under 6,000 people in largely rural Columbus County, in the extreme southeastern region of North Carolina. It has historically been a significant agricultural economy, respecting and understand the important role of honeybees and other pollinators. The Whiteville City Council was unanimous in its decision to pursue the Bee City USA certification. The Columbus County Beekeepers Association has been the driving force behind this effort, along with the local office of the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Office. The first year has been a very active one.
- Columbus Regional Healthcare: An L-shaped pollinator plot was planted on the campus of the local hospital, in coordinator with a garden sponsored by a local pediatrician and her patients.
- Grapeful Sisters Vineyards : A “ Bee Sanctuary Garden” was planted at this vineyard in the southern end of the county, with help from school children.
An educational exhibit was on display that day as well.
- Whiteville Parks & Recreation Department: pollinator plots were planted at two sites of parks within the city.
- Beekeepers sites: Pollinator plots were planted at beekeeper sites on Slippery Log Road and the Old Lumberton Road near Whiteville.
- Swarm recovery: The Beekeepers Association was called on several times during the year to retrieve and recover swarms of wild honeybees. On at least one occasion, these swarms were on an elementary school playground.
- Active members of the Beekeepers Association helped maintain the honeybee hives of chronically ill beekeepers until a permanent solution can be found.
Policies & Practices
Following its certification as a Bee City USA, our Pollinator Committee averaged meeting on a quarterly basis, focusing mainly on the identification and implementation of pollinator plots. This entailed policy discussions with officials from our local hospital, parks and recreation department, community college and public and private schools.
An annual beekeepers field day was held with our regional apiary inspector examining and evaluating member honeybee hives and making recommendations for best practices. Some of this included the applicability of pollinator plots nearby.
A commitment to expand the Pollinator Committee, and to work with the City focusing on setting best practices, is a goal of 2018.
Education & Outreach
- Basic beekeeping class held
- Exhibit: Southern Farm Days, Lake Waccamaw
- Festival: co-sponsor of the inaugural N.C. Honey Festival, Whiteville
- Exhibit: Ag-‘em Up Days, Bladen County, NC public schools
- Exhibit: Columbus County Fair
- Contest: Beekeepers logo contest among Columbus County High Schools
- Exhibit: C. Pecan Harvest Festival, Whiteville
- Exhibit: Earth Day, at Southeastern Community College for 4th graders
- Exhibit: Columbus County Farmers Market
- Permanent Exhibit Sponsor: C. Museum of Science, Whiteville Satellite
- Demonstration: Columbus County Partnership for Children
- Demonstration: Chadbourn Elementary School and others
- Observation Hive: in nearly all exhibits and demonstrations
- Structured monthly meetings of beekeepers
- Facebook page for Columbus County Beekeepers
Local Website & Contact Information
Bee City USA – Whiteville Committee:
Ricky Boswell firstname.lastname@example.org, Nikki Walker email@example.com, Patrick Dwyer firstname.lastname@example.org, Lucy Boswell email@example.com, Michael Shuman firstname.lastname@example.org, A.C. Carter text 910 445 1065, Blake Spivey email@example.com, Steve Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ricky Boswell, President, Columbus County Beekeepers Association, (910) 770-7795
Meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Columbus County Agricultural Extension Office, 45 Government Complex Rd, Suite A, Whiteville, NC 28472
- Michael Shuman, Extension Office Liaison (910) 641-3996
- Steve Smith, Bee City USA Liaison, (910) 641-1335