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Portland college acknowledged for work to protect bees

PCC is named the nation's fourth Bee Campus affiliate

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Portland Community College is among just a handful of colleges named a Bee Campus affiliate.The buzz around Portland Community College is growing.

Bee Campus USA has announced that Portland Community College is the fourth institution of higher education in the nation to be certified as an affiliate to promote the benefits of bees and other creatures that act as pollinators. The designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds and bats, among thousands of other species.

“We are proud to be named the fourth certified Bee Campus USA in the nation,” said PCC Interim President Sylvia Kelley. “There are already many students, faculty and staff working on pollinator health and sustainability issues. The members of our newly formed Bee Campus USA Committee will provide good leadership to these pollinator conservation efforts. We’re all excited about our Bee Campus efforts.”

The college plans to develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan that will include a native and pollinator friendly plant list with regional sources. PCC already utilizes pest management practices at all of its sites and uses pollinator friendly products. Staff are regularly educated on best practices and chemicals are used only as a last resort.

“Imperiled pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of more than two-thirds of the world’s plant and tree species,” said Phyllis Stiles, Bee Campus USA director. “Portland Community College is a stellar example of the influence community colleges can have on their students and larger communities. Their talented faculty, staff and students offer an invaluable resource for the entire community seeking ways to manage ornamental landscapes in more wildlife-friendly ways.”

PCC is looking to replace grass with more pockets of perennial flower beds on all of its campuses. This is on top of PCC growing herbicide and pesticide-free produce for staff, students and the greater community in its two learning gardens at the Sylvania and Rock Creek campuses. The “Organic Gardening” class at the Rock Creek Campus uses the learning garden extensively and has installed native bee houses.

At the Sylvania Campus, biology faculty are using pollen identification to help students learn how to use light and scanning electron microscopes. Also at Rock Creek, chemistry and biology faculty are collaborating on a project to extract pollen from honey from the campus’ beehives to determine from which plants the pollen originates.