Illinois becomes first Big Ten school to be recognized as Bee Campus USA

By The Daily Illini staff report

Students on campus took matters into their own hands to make the University the first Big Ten school to be a certified Bee Campus USA.

Bee Campus USA is a nonprofit organization associated with The Xerces Society, a group that aims to improve pollinator conservation. Bee Campus USA is based in Portland, Oregon.

The organization’s mission is to foster pollinator awareness and enhance pollinator habitats.

The University became the 53rd Bee Campus across the U.S., after students took initiative to become a certified campus by creating the Bee Campus USA Committee aiming to build an environmentally conscious campus.

Departments at the University provided support for the committee, such as the Department of Entomology and the Department of Natural Resources.

Rachel Daughtridge, junior in ACES and chair of the committee, said the University focuses on education and research, making this initiative very important.

“Educating our students, (Champaign-Urbana) community, and faculty-members about pollinators is important so that we can be conscious of their ecological value,” Daughtridge said in an email. “It is also important so that we can actively improve our campus to become a habitat for pollinators.”

Daughtridge said she hopes more students will show support as well as join the committee.

Last year, the committee held a screening of the “Bee Movie” and hosted a pollinator trivia night. They also passed out Illinois-native wildflower seedlings on the Main Quad. Their next event will be in the spring.

“Pollinator education and awareness can help anyone become more conscious about how their lifestyle affects wildlife around them.” Daughtridge said.

She said some ways students can be involved is to plant native flowers out of their homes and limit pesticide usage. Students can also support local honey farms.

“We rely on pollinators for most of our produce, so their benefits extend to all of us,” Daughtridge said.

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