The University of Mississippi has become the 81st educational institution in the country to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program.
Bee Campus USA is designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses to benefit pollinators. Ole Miss joins more than 150 cities and campuses throughout the country in improving their landscapes.
Bee Campus USA and Bee City USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland.
Its mission is to provide a healthy habitat, free of pesticides to sustain pollinators. Pollinators, including bumble bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and flies, are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90% of the world’s flowering plant species.
According to the Pesticide Action Network, pollinators such as bats and bumble bees are facing catastrophic declines due to pesticides, poor nutrition, habitat loss and increased pathogen exposure. Scientists have found that bees can be poisoned when flying through pesticide-contaminated planter dust.
A United Nations report showed that more than 70 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food rely on bees for pollination. Honey bees remain the most economically important pollinator, contributing over $19 billion to the United States economy.
Honey bees are also considered to be the “canary in the coal mines.” The decline of the honey bee indicates broader degradation and a collapse in biodiversity.