UR Receives National Recognition for Commitment to Pollinator Conservation

April 23, 2020

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND —  University of Richmond is now one of 98 campuses across the country to be certified as a Bee Campus USA affiliate.

The certification acknowledges the university’s efforts to make campus landscapes conducive for pollinators, which include bees, bats, butterflies and hummingbirds. These populations are in decline globally due to climate change and the use of pesticides and herbicides.

In light of these ecological concerns, University of Richmond has implemented multiple initiatives over the last several years to allow pollinators to thrive on UR’s campus.

Two campus hives were installed in 2017 and are home to more than 45,000 bees. The hives are managed by the Department of Biology, which uses them for hands-on research. In 2018, ecology students planted two small pollinator gardens near the hives. Additionally, a pollinator meadow containing milkweed and other native flowers attractive to pollinators was incorporated into the new Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor this year.

“Pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90 percent of the world's flowering plant species and one in every three bites of food consumed,” said Kirstin Berben, laboratories manager in the Department of Biology, and one of UR’s beekeepers. “These efforts have not only served to protect our pollinators, but to also to help educate our students on the important role these species have in our lives.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berben continues to check on the campus hives once a week. Even though campus is bit more quiet this spring, the bee colonies are just getting started on building spring comb and stocking pollen and nectar.