The certification will help pollinators by increasing the number of native plants, protecting nesting sites and restricting pesticides.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Western Washington University (WWU) is now a Certified Bee Campus.
This means EMU is now recognized by the Xerxes Society, an organization dedicated to protecting pollinators globally. The Bee Campus USA program helps pollinators by increasing the number of native plants, protecting nest sites, and limiting pesticides on campus.
EMU’s Fairhaven College is home to Outback Farm. The 5-acre farm is surrounded by protected wetlands and hosts approximately 12 year-round farming skills classes. This year they are offering the first course entirely dedicated to beekeeping.
Terri Kempton is the manager of Outback Farm and said their outdoor classroom is a reflection of the 50th anniversary they are celebrating this year.
“Fifty years ago, a group of intrepid students went outside, built a barn, got some animals, started farming and decided it’s a farm now,” Kempton said.
Kempton said the new affiliation with the Xerxes Society is a way the university has promised to protect pollinators on campus. Education, landscaping, and the university’s beekeeping program will help them thrive.
It is estimated that honey bees help produce about a third of the food we consume. Research has shown a significant decline in the population size of native pollinators worldwide. According to the Xerxes Society, up to 40% of pollinator species on Earth are at risk of extinction in the coming years due to environmental stressors such as habitat loss and degradation, exposure to pesticides, diseases and pathogens, and climate change.
Sasha Mosier is a student and operations manager at Outback Farm and will be helping lead the upcoming courses focusing on beekeeping.
“Honestly, this is one of the most exciting things for me because I never expected to be a beekeeper,” Mosier said.
Several years of on-farm learning and multiple beekeeping certifications have prepared Mosier to lead hands-on beehive training.
“They are so fascinating and so tiny, but many people are afraid of them. It’s scarier to imagine what would happen if they kept dying,” Mosier said.
The working farm also produces fruit and vegetables with hens providing eggs.
Caskey Russell is the dean of Fairhaven College and said he is particularly proud that it is a food justice farm.
“Not all students can afford honey and we are proud to be able to offer all of the honey and produce we grow here to students who are food insecure,” said Russell.
Follow them on Instagram for more information on the Certified Bee Campus courses, Outback Farm and their upcoming events.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/education/wwu-bee-campus-certification/281-adf7fb63-9671-4b88-bbe1-2fe0cb38ed0e Western Washington University is now a Certified Bee Campus