Mountain Brook becomes first municipal Bee City USA affiliate in Alabama

bee
Pollinators in Birmingham. (Lea Ann Macknally)

We have some buzzy news! The City of Mountain Brook has become the first municipal Bee City USA affiliate in Alabama. Read on for what this means for pollinators, plus info on the city’s first Bee City USA public awareness event on April 29. 

The importance of bees

bee
Honey bee (Alvin Diamond)

If Bee Movie taught us anything, it’s that bees are essential to our survival. These little pollinators are essentially in every terrestrial ecosystem on Earth, assisting in plant reproduction and supporting other species of wildlife. According to Bee City USA’s website, the US has more than 3600 native wild bee species, with native pollinators being particularly important.

According to the City of Mountain Brook, research has shown significant declines in native pollinator population sizes and ranges globally. Up to 40% of pollinator species on Earth are at risk of extinction in the coming years due to:

  • Habitat loss
  • Harmful pesticides
  • Climate change¬†

This is where cities like the City of Mountain Brook are stepping up to help save the bees.¬†According to the City of Mountain Brook, the city has become the first municipal Bee City USA affiliate in Alabama. It also joins two Bee Campus USA affiliates‚ÄĒAuburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.¬†

“The city of Mountain Brook is grateful that the Xerces Society and Bee City USA, through the affiliate program, have¬†put together a framework for cities and campuses to follow as we embark on this journey¬†together!¬†We are excited to share the importance of native plants and pollinators¬†with the local community, and we look forward to customizing city practices to support pollinators.”¬†¬†

Dana O. Hazen, Director of Planning, Building & Sustainability, City of Mountain Brook

What’s Bee City USA? An initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Bee City USA provides a framework for communities to work together to conserve native pollinators by:

  • Increasing the abundance of native plants
  • Providing nest sites
  • Reducing the use of pesticides

How to BEE a Bee USA affiliative

According to¬†Bee City USA’s website, there are a number of commitments a city must keep in order to maintain their Bee USA affiliate status. Some include:

  • Establishing a standing Bee City USA committee to advocate for pollinators
  • Creating and enhancing pollinator habitat on public and private land by increasing the abundance of native plants and providing nest sites
  • Reducing the use of pesticides
  • Incorporating pollinator-conscious practices into city policies and plans
  • Hosting pollinator awareness events

“To engage the community, the [City of Mountain Brook] will host educational events and post information on the city’s website and social media platforms. It is the city’s hope that individual community members will begin to understand that we can each make a difference on our individual private properties, one at a time, and connect our properties together in a stream of pollinator habitat.”

Dana O. Hazen, Director of Planning, Building & Sustainability, City of Mountain Brook

Celebrate Mountain Brook’s Citizen Appreciation Day event, April 29

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Native flowers in Alabama. (Sabrina Palmer / Bham Now)

On Saturday, April 29, the City of Mountain Brook hosts its annual Citizen Appreciation Day event. During the event, the city will highlight ‚ÄúNo Mow May‚ÄĚ, a conservation initiative¬†that urges people to allow grass to grow without being mowed during the month of May. The reason? To create critical habitat and forage for early season pollinators.¬†

Along with bringing awareness to ‚ÄúNo Mow May‚ÄĚ, the city plans to showcase its plans and progress for its first dedicated pollinator/teaching garden, which will be located by Mountain Brook City Hall.

There will also be sample bee hotels to see and touch, raffle giveaways, dandelion tea and more.

Event details:

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Patience Itson
Patience Itson
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