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News: Meant to Bee: Bee City Designation has Big Impact

 

November 05, 2019

Beaumont, Texas is Blooming!

The members of the Magnolia Garden Club (MGC) took action when they learned about an opportunity for their city of Beaumont, Texas, to become a Bee City. The idea was proposed to the City Council, approved in October 2018, and Beaumont was designated the third Bee City in Texas. The mission of Bee City USA® galvanizes communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with a healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free to nearly free of pesticides. Statistics on pollinators are impressive; they are responsible for 1 in 3 bites we eat and the reproduction of almost 90% of the world's flowering plant species. To date, there are 98 Bee Cities and counting. Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society, named after the now-extinct Xerces blue butterfly, which was the first butterfly in North America known to go extinct as a result of human activities.

As a result of the Magnolia Garden Club's initial actions, the Beaumont Bee City committee is a broad coalition making a significant impact. The committee includes city leaders from many diverse groups; the Rotary Club, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, East Texas Beekeepers Association, Beaumont’s public landscape superintendent, and members of the MGC, among others. Annually, the committee presents a topical movie event at the historic Jefferson Theatre. A recent screening of Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? was part of a pollinator celebration that was attended by over 200 people.  

In addition to eliminating pesticides, Kenneth Raggette, Beaumont’s public landscape superintendent, is making a significant impact by selecting pollinator-friendly plants such as lantana, plumbago, and hummingbird bush to be planted at over 50 planting sites. He also introduced the Earth-Kind Landscaping principles and practices pioneered by Texas A&M University. This method includes landscape waste conservation, reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use, landscape for energy conservation, and reduction of landscape waste in landfills. Raggette shares, "The small changes that this initiative entails make such a huge impact on our lives and the environment.”

Find out more information on becoming a Bee City here.

 

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