The shocking death of 50,000 bumblebees in a Wilsonville, Oregon shopping center back in 2013 catalyzed a worldwide conversation about bee health and pesticides. The incident happened after the bees visited trees treated by a private arborist company with neonicotinoid pesticides. Photos of bees littering the asphalt were featured on the cover of Time magazine, in the LA Times, and covered in The Huffington Post to mention a few, and brought the previously arcane topic of neonicotinoids into millions of American households.
Two years later, making lemonade out of lemons, 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 assist pollinators within urban environments. During this National Pollinator Week (June 20-26), NCAP is proud to announce its commitment to a new pollinator stewardship project and the collaboration to build crucial pollinator habitat in Wilsonville.
Mountain Rose Herb has donated 100% of sales from this limited edition “Pesticide-Free” sign to supporting NCAP, and these signs can be purchased directly at www.pesticide.org. They are made of 95% recycled aluminum and have been engraved with NCAP’s unique 40th anniversary logo. Proceeds go to NCAP’s pollinator habitat efforts including the Wilsonville project.
According to NCAP’s Healthy Water and Wildlife Program Director, Sharon Selvaggio, “The ‘Bee Stewards’ project will increase pollinator habitat on public and private lands within the City of Wilsonville. The project will 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 Mountain Rose Herbs and a variety of funding partners, this project will implement five main goals over the next year:
1) Create productive pollinator habitats on city and school district-owned property, utilizing volunteers and youth organizations to help plant and maintain them.
2) Develop a city IPM plan (none currently exists in Wilsonville) for city grounds and facilities.
3) Establish interpretive signs near the pollinator gardens to enhance community understanding of pollinators and their habitat needs.
4) Provide education and tools for local residents to create pollinator habitat in their own yards (via creation of a homeowner toolkit and workshop).
5) Expose students to pollinator education via classes, service learning, youth crews, and club settings, and establish a student-led monitoring program to ascertain the effectiveness of the created pollinator habitats.
Target ecological outcomes 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.
In addition, at least 200 households are expected to use the materials to increase pollinator habitat in their yards. We invite you to support one of NCAP’s several pollinator habitat projects by going to www.pesticide.org!
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).
About The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP)
For 39 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.
Jeremy Olsen is a 19-year veteran in the education and non-profit sectors dedicated to engaging individuals and groups towards personal and planetary health. As NCAP’s Assistant Director, Jeremy works daily to connect with members, donors and partners in support of NCAP’s work building safe, clean, and healthy communities. Jeremy resides in Eugene, Oregon.