NCC Campus Supports Pollinators and Community Education
Nash Community College has been an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program since 2017.
As a Bee Campus, the college sustains pollinators by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites and reducing the use of pesticides. Affiliates of Bee Campus USA work in their community to inspire others to conserve pollinators through education and outreach.
NCC has pollinator-friendly plants throughout campus, with specific pollinator gardens as well. NCC Master Gardener Ken White and Biology instructors Christine Ricci and Lettie Allen oversee the Bee Campus initiatives.
Pollinator plants are strategically placed throughout the whole campus including Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower, Eastern Red Bud, Milkweed, Clover, Azalea, Sunflower, Phlox and fruits and herbs. NCC also has fruit trees – pears, apples, peach, cherry, paw paw. Joe-Pye and Cardinal Flower will be planted at the new rain gardens on campus.
The campus is currently home to two apiaries: the kudzu apiary and the garden apiary with a total of three hives and plans to add another soon. The hives are maintained by members of the NCC Bee Campus Committee and harvested honey is used on campus by the Culinary Arts program and Midway Café.
Additionally, the college has a least toxic integrated pest management plan (IPM) in place. This ensures pests are dealt with in the safest manner possible. “We rarely use pesticides but when we do, our strategy focuses on long-term prevention of pests using pesticides that have a low human and environmental health hazard,” said Ken White. “We achieve this by using least harmful chemicals like organic horticultural oil spray or simply using plants that are more resistant to diseases and pests.”
The NCC Bee Campus Committee has educational outreach partnerships with Nashville Elementary School and the Nash County Agricultural Center and Arboretum. Christine Ricci helps maintain an apiary at the agricultural center and leads activities at the elementary school to help students learn about plants and pollinators.
NCC students are actively involved in the Bee Campus initiatives, Allen said. “In our continued partnership with the community, we worked with Austin Harrell, who added a hive to the kudzu apiary and established a pollinator garden as his Eagle Scout project. We are currently working on 3-D printed pollinator homes and have plans for students to help implement more pollinator gardens around campus.” T he college’s General Biology students learn about the importance of pollinator-friendly practices and beekeeping.
Other activities supporting the Bee Campus have included tree planting ceremonies, seminars, an orchard planting and educational outreach at Nashville Elementary School, participating in “No Mow May” as a way to feed local pollinators and more.
For more information about the Bee Campus USA program, visit beecityusa.org.