- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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!