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Roanoke Joins Bee City USA Movement

It’s been more than a decade since environmentalists in Ashville, North Carolina launched the Bee USA program – an effort to promote creation of and protection for pollinator habitat. At Roanoke’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Molly Hagan says the city is joining that effort and will soon begin educating the public and taking action to save the bees.

“We are looking at when and where we can incorporate pollinator gardens into our spaces,” she explains. “We may also mow less frequently in places where it’s not going to impact the community that uses the park space.”

Hagan says the key is to get rid of non-native plants and find the right ones to suit local bees. Virginia has about 400 varieties including bumble bees, mason bees, sweat bees, leaf cutters and carpenters.

“One of the things that I actually learned through this process is the important of protecting our native populations and having native plants to do that,” she says. “Here in Southwest Virginia we have certain plants that are native to our area that are not going to be the exact same ones you would find on the coast, so one of the things that our group put together was a brochure with information on specific native plants so that our residents could have a really easy access guide.”

There will also be an effort to stop using pesticides that are dangerous to bees, to leave some areas wild for nesting and wintering and to connect green spaces so bees can move safely around the landscape. Hagan says the new program will kick-off at 11 a.m. in Vic Thomas Park.

Source : WVTF