HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — James Madison University was named the 66th Bee Campus USA by the Xerces Society after it got its first professionally designated beekeeping operation on campus in May.
There are two professionally designated bee-keeping operations on campus right now, and more may be added in the future.
According to Wayne Teel, a professor of environmental science and technology – and also the advisor of the Bee Friendly Bee Keepers Club on campus – a Bee Campus promotes understanding about bees to the public, and helps to increase bees in the area.
There are two honeybee hives on the east side of the campus.
"Really for classes in a lot of ways, we can then have an example of how working ecosystems function with honeybees as part of it, but also native bees and other kinds of things," said Teel.
The Bee Campus is also an initiative to increase awareness of bees and encourage those who garden or farm to plant more and use fewer pesticides.
Amy Goodall is an associate professor for the school of integrated sciences, and she said that the bee initiative on campus will not only benefit students' education, but the community as a whole.
"I think people will really see an increased production in their gardens, and so we have some people that have not really had very high cucumber reproduction in the last recent years, and I think they will see that increase," said Goodall.
A Bee Campus Committee meets to plan for long-term processes for putting pollinator plants on campus to create a continuous habitat for bees year-round. One of the goals is to put in a three-acre meadow with pollinator plants in an area where new dorms are being built.