In 2013, the shocking death of an estimated 50,000 bumblebees in the parking lot of a Wilsonville, Oregon shopping center catalyzed a worldwide conversation about bee health and pesticides. The cause? Those bees visited trees treated with pesticides. The incident, with photos of bees littering the asphalt, became national news and was featured on the cover of Time magazine, in the LA Times and in The Huffington Post bringing the previously arcane topic of neonicotinoid insecticides into millions of American households.
Join NCAP in Building Pollinator Habitat in Wilsonville, on Farms and Across the Northwest.
Two years later, The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides recognizes that this notorious incident uniquely positions the City of Wilsonville and committed partners to exercise national leadership in demonstrating achievable ways to care for pollinators within urban environments. On the eve of National Pollinator Week (June 20-26), NCAP is proud to announce its commitment to leading a new pollinator stewardship project and collaborating to build pollinator habitat in Wilsonville.
According to NCAP’s Healthy Wildlife and Water Program Director, Sharon Selvaggio, “The Bee Stewards Project is an opportunity to reverse the effects of this tragedy, in part, by increasing pollinator habitat on public and private lands within the City of Wilsonville.” The project will also promote community and environmental health through producing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan, which will promote alternative methods to address pests on City property and it will also educate community members and local students about pollinators, their critical services and their conservation needs.
Thanks to YOU, this project implemented five main goals:
- Created productive pollinator habitat on City and School District-owned property, utilizing volunteers and youth organizations to help plant and maintain the habitat.
- Developed a City IPM plan (none previously exists in Wilsonville) for City grounds and facilities.
- Established interpretive signs near the pollinator gardens to enhance community understanding of pollinators and their habitat needs.
- Provided education and tools for local residents to create pollinator habitat in their own yards (via creation of a homeowner toolkit and workshop).
- Exposed students to pollinator education via classes, service learning, youth crews, and club settings; establish a student-led monitoring program to ascertain the effectiveness of the created pollinator habitats.
Providing Alternatives to Pesticides and Creating Valuable Pollinator Habitat are at the Core of NCAP’s Efforts.
Ecological outcomes for this project include restoring healthy, viable pollinator habitat on public lands in Wilsonville. Targeted species are pollinators, especially native bees and butterflies, to be supported in habitats emulating native oak-prairie structure and composition, in Memorial Park, Willamette River Water Treatment Plant and Park, West-Linn Wilsonville School District CREST Headquarters, West Linn-Wilsonville School District Farm to School Site, and Wilsonville Road median strips.
NCAP would like to thank everyone who supports pollinator protection and education as well as this project’s working partners, including The City of Wilsonville, The West Linn Wilsonville School District, Xerces Society, Habitat Landscape Design, Friends of Trees, and Northwest Youth Corps (NWYC).
For over 40 years NCAP has effectively partnered with and mobilized a diverse set of individuals, communities, groups, universities, policy makers, government agencies, and businesses toward the goal of advancing alternatives and reducing the use of pesticides. NCAP works in both urban and rural areas to promote practical, well-researched and environmentally friendly strategies for managing pest problems and reducing pesticide use and exposures.
NCAP’s emphasis on community and environmental health and safety focuses on vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, and endangered fish and wildlife. NCAP has a strong history of working with others, including municipalities and parks districts, to develop and implement integrated pest management strategies and plans.
Why Your Support for NCAP and Pollinators is Important:
- Pollination is an essential ecological function. Without pollinators, the human race and all of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems could collapse.
- The number of managed honey bee colonies in the United States has declined steadily over the past 60 years, from 6 million colonies (beehives) in 1947 to 4 million in 1970, 3 million in 1990, and just 2.5 million today.
- Some crops, such as almonds, are almost exclusively pollinated by honey bees, and many crops rely on honey bees for more than 90% of their pollination.
- Since 2006, commercial beekeepers in the US have seen honey bee colony loss rates increase to an average of 30% each winter, compared to historical loss rates of 10 to 15%. This past year, the loss was over 40%!
- The recent increased loss of honey bee colonies is thought to be caused by a combination of stressors, including loss of natural habitat and exposure to pesticides.
- Beekeepers in the United States have collectively lost an estimated 10 million beehives.