Detroit achieves Bee City USA affiliation in push to conserve native pollinators

What’s happening: The Motor City has officially become Bee City as Detroit joins Bee City USA, a national nonprofit dedicated to conserving native pollinators in communities throughout the country. Detroit becomes the sixth Bee City USA affiliate in Michigan, joining Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, St. Joseph, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti charter township.

What it is: Bee City USA is an initiative of the ​​Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which provides communities a framework to conserve their native pollinators by improving and expanding pollinators’ natural habitats, and through various community engagement efforts. The Xerces Society is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

How they did it: Detroit City Council unanimously approved Detroit’s designation as a Bee City USA affiliate with a vote in February, setting off months of preparation before officially being recognized as such with a celebratory press conference on Monday, May 20. A Detroit Bee City Committee has been formed, administering Bee City USA duties in partnership with the City of Detroit and local nonprofit Detroit Hives. It’s Detroit Hives that first approached the City with the idea of becoming an affiliate.

Hive-minded: Detroit nonprofit Detroit Hives launched in 2016 and serves to improve quality of life for Detroit residents and their pollinating neighbors, revitalizing vacant lots into pollinator-friendly, educational green spaces. The nonprofit recently received a $283,498.91 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to transform another eight vacant lots in the city.

What’s next: As part of their affiliation, the City will install Bee City USA signs at various points throughout Detroit, as well as creating an informative webpage. Programs to create and expand pollinator-friendly habitats will be developed, as well as an integrated pest management plan to minimize pesticide use. Detroit Hives will lead community engagement efforts.

Visit Detroit Hives online to keep up-to-date with the latest bee news.

Why it’s important: “We are delighted that City Council shares our vision for Detroit to actively participate in the Bee City USA movement,” said Timothy Jackson, Co-chair of the Detroit Bee Committee and Founder of Detroit Hives. “Bee Cities are important because they play a vital role in conserving pollinators, promoting biodiversity, supporting food security, and fostering environmental stewardship at the local level. By working together to create bee-friendly communities, Bee Cities contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future for people and pollinators. There are now six Bee Cities within the State of Michigan, and we are excited to have Detroit as the 207th certified Bee City USA Affiliate within the United States.”

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.