Posts Tagged: Berkeley City Council
The Berkeley City Council did the right thing.
The council members voted this week to landscape city parks and open spaces with pollinator-friendly plants.
The plan: to provide a friendly habitat and food source for pollinators, especially honey bees.
Within the next few weeks, the park staff will plant native, flowering plants. They'll take precautions by placing the plants at least 30 feet from children's play areas, garbage cans and restrooms.
Bee behavior being what it is, a single bee nectaring a flower isn't likely to sting. Or, for that matter, many bees visiting flowers. The bees are there to work: to gather nectar and pollen for their colonies.
The bee garden follows on the heels of the newly announced vegetable and herb garden at the White House. That, too, is an important food source for pollinators.
One of the best comments we've heard:
"The First Family has set a great example for Americans," said Ching-Yee Hu, Haagen-Dazs brand manager in a recently published news release. "It not only shows everyone the importance of backyard gardens and knowing how food gets to your table, but also lets everyone know that bees are important and they need our help."
That bears repeating: "...bees are important and they need our help."
As part of its public service, Haagen-Dazs launched a nationwide campaign last year to help save the bees, including helping research efforts at UC Davis and Pennyslvania State. This year is Year 2 of the campaign. Their projects include funding a honey bee haven, or bee friendly garden, at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. Nearly 50 percent of Haagen-Dazs ice cream flavors depend on honey bees, or as they put it, are "bee-built."
Among the company's other bee friendly plans: to distribute two million flower seeds this year. Some will be given away at the UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 18. The display will be at Briggs Hall, as part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology's Picnic Day celebration. Meanwhile, you can ask for free seeds by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. (The hdloveshb means "Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees.") More information appears on their educational site, helpthehoneybees.com.
It's nice to see the united effort by the nation, states, cities, businesses, and residents to support the honey bees.
Sunny days ahead!
Bee on sunflower
An article in today's San Francisco Chronicle indicated that the Berkeley City Council is "poised to transform all the city's parks and open spaces into habitats for bees."
That's the kind of news we need more of, more often.
"If the council approves the resolution," wrote Chronicle reporter Carolyn Jones, "all future landscaping would be 'pollinator-friendly' flowering native plants intended to attract bees, bats, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, beetles and flies."
And about time!
Indeed, the declining bee population should concern us all. Bees are beneficial insects. They pollinate our fruits, vegetables and nuts. They provide honey, wax and other products. One-third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Without bees, life as we know it would cease to exist.
The Berkeley City Council is expected to vote on the bee resolution at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Way, Berkeley. We expect the council will hear protests about bee stings. Some folks, whether they're allergic to bees or not, dislike bees simply because they sting. Say "bees" and they think "stings."
Bees? Stings. Bees. Stings.
That's not what bees are all about.
The Berkeley protestors should take a look at the UC Davis Arboretum. The UC Davis campus is oh, so fortunate to have an arboretum filled with bee friendly plants. The bees go about their business while arboretum fans go about theirs. Folks stroll the paths, relax on benches and admire the gardens--which include bees, butterflies and other insects.
And in October when the half-acre Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is dedicated on the grounds of Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility at UC Davis, the landscaping on campus will be even more enjoyable. It will be a place to inform, educate and entertain.
That's the way it should be.
Of course, plans for the Berkeley bee habitats would include precautions. All bee friendly landscaping would be planted at least 30 feet from children's play areas, barbecues, garbage cans and picnic tables.
"Staff would also post signs in the parks explaining the importance of bee habitats," Jones wrote.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates got it right when he told the Chronicle reporter: "I read about the bees declining and thought 'This is terrible. What can we do?' Making our parks pollinator-friendly is totally possible and economically feasible and a good way to help bees in our city."
Now the next step ought to be to encourage residents to plant bee friendly gardens.
Honey bee on salvia