Black Hills State University becomes a Bee Campus: sustaining pollinators

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Black Hills State University recently became part of the “Bee Campus USA” initiative. This means that the campus will provide areas to protect habitats for pollinators such as bees.

“There are hundreds of native pollinator species so when we talk about pollinators, it’s called Bee Campus USA but it’s a lot more than just bees, it’s pretty much all insects, birds, bats,” said Eva Chase, the sustainability coordinator.

Pollinators are important for the health of our environment because they help plants reproduce, but unfortunately, the population of all pollinators is on a decline. Plants sustain life in several ways that are essential to both people and animals, which is why pollinators must be sustained.

“About 1/3 of every bite you take, so one out of every 3 bites you take is courtesy of a pollinator,” said Chase.

As of now, the school has a garden that isn’t treated with pesticides or herbicides.

Now that they are officially a Bee Campus, they are establishing a campus habitat plan. Part of the plan is to set aside 17 acres of the campus and manage that entire area organically. They will also use as little pesticides as possible on the rest of the campus.

In addition to limiting harmful chemicals, they are also adding more greenery.

“We already have an area of native grass outside of the life science building, there’s a buffalo grass planted out there. That’s good for pollinators. We also have a few native garden areas on campus and we hope to increase the percentage of our campus that is planted with native vegetation,” said Chase.

BHSU has taken on several environmentally friendly initiatives such as growing organic food and installing solar panels.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News