The California Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, a statewide student-run nonprofit aimed at promoting civic engagement through activism, recently commemorated UC Berkeley becoming the 80th Bee Campus USA affiliate.
As of Sept. 3, UC Berkeley became one of five California campuses certified with Bee Campus USA and must renew this designation yearly. Through the Xerces Society, a nonprofit environmental organization, “bee campuses” raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and how communities can sustain and must create healthy habitats for pollinators of all kinds.
“UC Berkeley is a long-standing advocate for environmental protections — it’s been at the forefront of some of the biggest movements in our nation,” said Cal sophomore Taylor Rein, Visibility Coordinator for Save the Bees. “Right now, we’re supporting the pollinator conservation movement.”
An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 native bee species reside in California, according to the Xerces Society. Bees are fundamental to food supplies, as they pollinate 70 percent of the world’s crops and provide $20 billion in yearly U.S. revenue, according to a Save the Bees press release. A mass extinction of about 30 to 40 percent of bee colonies die off each winter. The reasons for mass extinction among bee colonies, according to the release, include loss of habitat, urbanizing landscapes and the use of chemical pesticides.
Moving forward, CALPIRG intends to extend the bee-friendly initiative to the City of Berkeley and Alameda County. Student activists at Cal and CALPRIG have challenged the Berkeley City Council and UC management to encourage pollinators in the community. Road Medians and bee-friendly habitats have been added to the campus and city landscapes. Theron Klos, operations manager for Landscape Services on campus, has been working for over a decade to transform campus landscapes into bee-friendly habitats. UC Berkeley’s Long-Range Development Plan includes plans to further become a bee-friendly environment, eliminating invasive species and encouraging biodiversity and resilient landscapes.
For more information about the Xerces Society, visit https://xerces.org/.
Here is just another reason for us ‘Old Blues’ to be proud of our Alma Mater…Go Bears! Go Bees!