MSU NEWS SERVICE
In an effort to support healthy populations of bees and other pollinators, Montana State University has joined a nationwide initiative certifying the university’s pollinator-friendly practices and programs.
In Nov. 2018, MSU was designated a Bee Campus USA by the international nonprofit Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, becoming the first Montana campus to qualify and enroll. The program includes 58 other campuses nationwide.
Bee Campuses are required to have pollinator-friendly habitat that includes native plants, engage in outreach programs, and teach courses related to pollinators, among other things.
“Becoming a Bee Campus builds upon, and unifies, ongoing research and outreach efforts aimed at promoting pollinator health at MSU and supports student and community member involvement,” said Michelle Flenniken, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology in MSU’s College of Agriculture.
MSU’s pollinator education and outreach offerings currently include nine undergraduate courses, several outreach activities for local youth, and the Pollinator Symposium where MSU graduate students and faculty present their research on honey bees, bumblebees and other pollinating insects in an open, public forum.
Flenniken, who first organized the symposium in 2017, said the Bee Campus designation could inspire additional offerings and opportunities for MSU students to learn about bees and the important role they play in pollinating numerous important plant species, including crop plants, in addition to producing honey.