Carlinville becomes state’s first Bee City

Carlinville becomes state’s first Bee City

The Carlinville City Council unanimously voted Sept. 16 to become a Bee City USA, joining more than one hundred and seventy other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.

The Council’s action is the culmination of months of efforts by the “Make Carlinville Beautiful” group to accomplish this certification.

Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, with offices across the country. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free from insecticides.

Among the native pollinator plants are milkweed, liatris, zinnias and pink and purple asters.

“You have to plant things that start out when pollinators are ready to start eating in spring and give them something to forage on all the way through season through October,” said Make Carlinville Beautiful co-chair Mary Tinder.

Pollinators like bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, honeybees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds and many others 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.

Carlinville will have 16 sites throughout the town where pollinators will be planted, the first of which was the monarch garden at the train station.

The Council’s vote was made after a presentation by Alderman Bill Link, representing the city.

Mayor Deanna Demuzio said, “let it be known that we understand the importance of sustaining pollinators, and we want to make the city more pollinator friendly. We are grateful to “Make Carlinville Beautiful” and Blackburn College, a Bee Campus, for bringing the opportunity to our attention.”

“We are thrilled that the city shares our vision to join the Bee City USA movement,” said Kathy Ruiter,

Chair of Blackburn College’s Bee Campus USA Committee, who has played a major role in the campaign.

According to Bill Link and Mary Tinder, Co-Chairs of the Bee City USA-Carlinville committee, numerous organizations and individuals participated in the discussions about becoming a Bee City and the importance of adding pollinators to city landscapes. Among the groups who were represented are: Macoupin County Master Gardeners, Tree City USA-Carlinville and numerous interested individuals.

“The program aspires to make people more PC-pollinator conscious, that is,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces’ Executive director. “If lots of individuals and communities begin planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials, it will create large-scale change for many, many species of pollinators.”

“How each city or county celebrates pollinators is up to them,” said Bee City USA founder, Phyllis Stiles. “To maintain their certification, each affiliate is expected to celebrate being a Bee City USA community every year.”

Each affiliate holds public awareness activities, publicly acknowledging the commitment to the program through a standing committee, signage and web links and prepare an annual report on habitat enhancement activities.

Tinder stated that upcoming events that will educate the public will be the third Bee City meeting Oct. 24 at City Hall at 9 a.m. as well as the Carlinville Halloween parade, where Bee City will be handing out free samples of pollinator seeds to the public.

“If people come to the meeting on the 24th and they want to be in the parade with us, that’s great,” Tinder said. “We will also be printing t-shirts that read ‘save the bees, plant more trees and clean the seas.’ We will have information on how to get them at our meeting.”

The “Make Carlinville Beautiful Bee Team” welcomes everyone to attend the meeting and get involved in the pollinator-friendly initiatives.

“Bee City USA especially encourages school gardens and educational programs for children,” said Superintendent Becky Schuchman. “Carlinville Community Unit School District No. 1 is pleased to be a part of Make Carlinville Beautiful. We are in the planning process of adding more pollinators to each campus.”

The city has designated “Make Carlinville Beautiful” the facilitating committee for their efforts to engage the community in promoting pollinator conservation.

The overarching goal, according to Bill Link and Mary Tinder is for Carlinville to become a model city, a Mecca for pollinators.

For more information about the Bee City USA Carlinville program and “Make Carlinville Beautiful,” contact Bill Link at 217- 854-8757 or Mary Tinder at 217-825-9699.