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UMD Named ‘Bee Campus USA’ in Effort to Protect Pollinators

By Maryland Today Staff

The University of Maryland on Monday received certification as a Bee Campus USA affiliate by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, joining 163 other higher education institutions in a movement dedicated to creating and maintaining pollinator-friendly campus habitats.

This achievement recognizes years of effort of students, staff and faculty across departments on actions to help with bee and pollinator conservation. Among the requirements for the designation, UMD will continue to work on pollinator conservation projects, planting native flowering species, providing nest sites, reducing pesticide use and offering outreach and educational experiences for the campus community to learn about the importance of native bees, pollinators and their habitats.

"Pollinators play a critical role in our environment and need our help. Collaborating with community members and multiple campus departments to support important species is a worthy endeavor for the university,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “This designation is a positive direction for our campus and local communities, a bold vision we value—helping to inspire environmental action and community resiliency across Maryland."

Research has shown significant declines in native pollinator population sizes and ranges globally, with up to 40% of pollinator species on earth at risk of extinction in the coming years as a result of habitat loss, the use of harmful pesticides and climate change, the Xerces Society said.

Pollinators are a keystone species in most ecosystems, enabling the reproduction of over 85% of all flowering plants and 67% of agricultural crops. In addition to the well-known honey bee, a species brought to the United States from Europe, there are more than 3,600 species of bees native to the U.S. Butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, wasps, bats and hummingbirds also contribute to pollination.

The city of College Park, along with nearby Berwyn Heights, Greenbelt and Laurel, are affiliates of the related Bee City USA initiative.

For more information about this program, see the university's Bee Campus website.

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