UCI student Alyssa Romea discusses the successful campaign to certify UCI as a Bee Campus, and what you can do to make your home and community more friendly to these important pollinators.
Bees face existential threats from pesticides, suburban sprawl and climate change, among other man made factors. But if humans are part of the problem, they can also be part of the solution. This is what drives the work of UCI’s Bee Friendly Committee, which led a successful effort to certify UCI as a Bee Campus USA affiliate joining 115 universities nationwide.
Alyssa Romea, a second-year student majoring in political science and environmental science and policy, is working with CALPIRG’s Save the Bees Campaign to mobilize the UCI community on the critical issue of bee colony collapse.
The US honey bee population declined by 40% in 2018. Bees are critical pollinators and their losses threaten global food production, biodiversity and species survival.
“Most of the causes of bee collapse — habitat loss, climate change, acute pesticide poisoning — are rooted in human activity,” Romea said. “We need planned, deliberate changes in public policy to address this problem.”
The Bee Friendly Committee is taking action on campus by incorporating native pollinator-friendly plants in UCI’s Ants in Your Plants garden in the Arroyo Vista Housing community. Adding bee nesting sites and reducing pesticide use are also critical actions.
“Our goal is to create a pollinator friendly environment both physically and socially,” said Romea. “We can help rebuild the native bee population on campus by adding the right plants, but we also have to cultivate a campus culture that supports environmentalism and conservation.”
“This initiative has many laudable attributes…It is student-initiated and student-led, it focuses on an important problem that is often overlooked, it has a strong research and public education component, and it is about a natural system of critical global importance.”
Ready to take action for bees? Here are some steps to get you started!
Introduce bee-friendly plants to your garden — whether that’s your backyard, patio or apartment courtyard
Local, organic food from small, family farms
WRITE & CALL
Write letters and make calls to regional, state and national decision makers, encouraging them support stronger regulations on chemicals and pesticides that are major threats to pollinators.