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Bee Campus USA LogoBy participating in the Bee Campus USA program, Auburn University seeks to foster efforts to study, promote, and protect pollinators. 

Bees and other pollinators provide critical services for the production of food, forage, and fibers, including many crops important to Alabama’s economy. Unfortunately, in recent years honey bee colonies have experienced unprecedented mortality, while many wild pollinators face population declines. This creates the potential for negative consequences across our natural, agricultural, economic, and social systems. 

By fulfilling the commitments of the ‘Bee Campus USA’ program, Auburn aims to unite current efforts to raise awareness on pollinators, food production, native plant species, and integrated pest management, all while stimulating Alabama’s economy through species protection and the services that support those efforts. In addition, these efforts generate campus synergies that enable faculty and staff to bridge the academic and operational divide to create new opportunities in research, instruction, and extension related to pollinators and environmental health.  

We encourage you to learn more about the Bee Campus USA program, along with the activities here at Auburn, by exploring the topics below.  Auburn received the official Bee Campus USA designation in April 2018, making us the 39th university in the nation and the first in the state of Alabama to receive this honor.  Our initial activities related to the 7 commitments have been summarized below, and will be updated annually to reflect our efforts to uphold the Bee Campus designation.  

If you have questions, would like additional information, or want to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  

Graphic with bees.

Commitment 1: Develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan

Establish/maintain a Bee Campus USA Committee or Subcommittee comprised of the landscape director & other staff, administrators, faculty, & students, charged with developing a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan to include a locally native, pollinator-friendly plant list with regional sources for such plants & a least toxic integrated pest management (IPM) plan. The plant list & IPM plan should be publicized & available on the web to offer a valuable landscape management model applicable to other local landscapes.

Commitment 2: Host Awareness Event(s)

Host an annual campus event(s) to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators & to acknowledge the institution’s certification as a Bee Campus USA institution.  National observances that would fit well include National Pollinator WeekEarth Day/Week,  National Wildflower WeekNational Gardening Week,  Arbor Day,  National Moth WeekNational Bat WeekGarden for Wildlife MonthNational Honey MonthNational Honey Bee Day, National Garden Month, Butterfly Education and Awareness Day. Events may be workshops on pollinators, planting pollinator gardens, presentations about pollinators, garden tours, films about pollinators, etc.
  • Various departments, units, & organizations within Auburn University regularly host events centered on pollinator awareness or integrate messaging related to pollinators and Bee Campus USA.  Common events and outreach include:
    • Alabama Beekeepers Symposium
    • At-Home Beekeeping Webinars
    • Auburn Azalea Festival
    • Donald E. Davis Arboretum tours
    • Earth Day Extravaganza
    • Extension presentations around the state of Alabama
    • Family Fun Day
    • Kreher Preserve & Nature Center tours
    • Medicinal garden tours
    • Native plant sales
    • Rane Culinary Center rooftop tours
    • Research presentations around the world
    • Sustainability Picnic

Commitment 3: Sponsor Student Service-Learning Projects to Enhance Pollinator Habitat

Annually sponsor & track student service-learning projects to enhance pollinator habitats on-& off-campus. Service-learning projects may or may not be part of appropriate courses. Campus employees are also encouraged to participate in service projects to enhance pollinator habitats.
  • While an official inventory of student service-learning has not been conducted, integration of these types of activities into courses & student activities do happen throughout the university.  Areas, where service-learning has already occurred include:
    • College of Agriculture –Department of Horticulture and Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
      • Students have visited practicing apiarists, planted pollinator-friendly plots, built bee hotels & hive boxes, & practiced honey harvesting.
      • Horticulture students work with flowers, vegetables, and herbs in the Rane Culinary Center rooftop garden and in various plots throughout the Transformation Garden.
    • College of Sciences and Mathematics – Department of Geosciences
      • Students in a Geographic Information Systems course helped to map annual planting beds on campus to aid Landscaping Services in determining how they might manage them in a way that meets campus goals & supports pollinators.
    • College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment
      • Students in the Environmental Interpretation course helped design interpretative signs highlighting the Bee Campus USA designation & the roles of various pollinators.
    • For the Bees student group
      • Students in this group maintain a plot in the Auburn University Community Garden to support the presence of pollinators.
    • Student employment activities
      • Students employed at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum & the AU Bee Lab help with habitat enhancement projects & conduct outreach activities on campus & in the community.

Commitment 4: Offer Pollinator Focused Courses and/or Workshops

At least biennially offer a course &/or workshop on Pollinator Ecology and/or Integrated Pest Management &/or Landscaping for Pollinators &/or Native Plants. Workshops may provide continuing education credits for professional pesticide applicators &/or landscape designers.
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System hosts an annual Beekeeping Symposium, which in recent years has drawn over 700 enthusiasts, & in 2019 they launched a their At-Home Beekeeping Webinar Series.
  • Various courses within the College of Agriculture; College of Architecture, Design, & Construction (CADC); and the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment (CFWE) touch on pollinators &/or pollinator-related habitat to varying degrees.  For instance, within CFWE a group of students worked to created pollinator-related sign designs and students in CADC’s Landscape Architecture program learn about pollinator habitats within some of their design courses.  The most extensive coverage of pollinators happens within the College of Agriculture, where students taking courses within the Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology learn about pollinators in a variety of courses, including Bee Biology & Management & Economic Entomology.
  • Beyond these activities, Extension professionals host bee-specific offerings throughout the state of Alabama, & Auburn faculty & students also present research findings at meetings & conferences around the world.

Commitment 5: Post Signage to Educate the Campus & Community

Post signage regarding pollinators to educate the campus & broader community about pollinator-friendly landscaping principles. For example, signage next to plantings might explain how beneficial insects provide a natural process for pest management & pollination, or signs in the cafeteria might explain the role of pollinators in food production. Signage may or may not be permanent.
  • Auburn University maintains strict standards for campus signage, so no permanent signs have been installed to
    date. Various temporary signs have been utilized at different locations & outreach events. They include:

    • Posters on Auburn’s Bee Campus USA designation & what it means.
    • Signs on how to connect with the Auburn University Bee Lab for more information on research & outreach efforts.
    • A graphic depicting the “Flower to Fruit” process, including the critical role of pollinators.
    • A graphic covering the Southeastern Blueberry Bee & the role it plays in fruit cultivation.
    • Various signage at outreach tables of both the AU Bee Lab & the For the Bees student group that covers information on honeybees.
    • Social media posts on pollinators from units like the AU Bee Lab, Donald E. Davis Arboretum, Office of Sustainability, & AU Community Garden.

Commitment 6: Maintain a Web Presence to Share Bee Campus News

Maintain a webpage on or linked to the institution’s website to share your BEE CAMPUS USA news & activities.
  • It is the committee’s intention to maintain this webpage as a repository of past, current, & future efforts surrounding the Bee Campus USA commitments.  In addition, events related to pollinators will be included on the Office of Sustainability calendar of events.

Commitment 7: Annually Apply for Renewal

Annually apply for renewal of the institution’s designation & submit a brief report of the previous year’s Bee Campus USA activities following the format provided.

Bee Campus USA Committee

The Auburn Bee Campus USA Committee began as an informal working group in early 2017 focused on unifying the mutli-faceted, pollinator-related efforts already underway on campus.  Since then, it has both grown in membership & purview, with the members listed below now working together to actively and formally support the Bee Campus USA commitments.  The committee serves as a network of representatives from the academic, extension, & operational areas of the university, & meets at least once per semester or more frequently, as needed.

Current Committee Members

Arthur Appel — Entomology & Plant Pathology
Morgan Beadles — Davis Arboretum
Tia Gonzalez — Medicinal Garden
Judd Langham  — Campus Planning
David Hill — Landscape Architecture
Madeleine O’Donnell — Auburn for Bees – Student Group
Glenn Loughridge — Tiger Dining
Charles Ray — Entomology & Plant Pathology, Extension
Stephanie Rogers — Geosciences
Kerry Smith — Horticulture
Amy Strickland —  Office of Sustainability
Justin Sutton — Landscape Services
Geoffrey Williams — Entomology & Plant Pathology