By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(June 18, 2020) Berlin will observe National Pollinator Week from June 22-28, Mayor Gee Williams proclaimed at the June 8 meeting of the mayor and Town Council.
The declaration reflects the town’s effort, begun in May 2018, to create sustainable habitats to preserve pollinators as a Bee City USA affiliate.
As local farmers and gardeners know, thousands of species of bees and other natural pollinators are essential factors in the food supply chain.
As the town’s pollinators week proclamation declared, town officials inform developers and residents about landscaping that promotes “wise conservation stewardship, including the protection of pollinators and maintenance of their habitats and environments.”
As one of 109 Bee City designees in the country, Berlin renews its certification as a bee haven every February.
The town’s Bee City Designation Committee held its first meeting on Oct. 22, 2019.
Committee members are Chairwoman Kate Patton, Vice Chairwoman Ivy Wells, Liaison Kelsey Jensen, Alan Parkinson, David Engelhart, Helen Wiley, Mike Wiley, Jeffrey Fleetwood, Meghan Pfaller, Patty Backer, Peggy Hagy, Steve Farr, Sue Bashore and Tiffany Scott.
As a Bee City affiliate, Berlin must host pollinator awareness events, publicly acknowledge Bee City affiliation with signs and an online presence, pay an initial application fee and annual renewal fees, incorporate pollinator-conscious practices into city policies and plans and create and enhance pollinator habitat on public and private land by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites and reducing the use of pesticides.
With help from their eldest daughter, Mike and Helen Wiley have added native plants to provide a better habitat for birds and insects.
The Wiley’s pollinator garden includes milkweed, which is important to the monarch butterflies, Helen said. There are also bird feeders and native honeysuckle for hummingbirds.
“Our previous house in Annapolis was a certified wildlife habitat. We’ve done the same thing down here,” Mike said. “We’ve tried to just maintain a safe environment for wildlife in our yard, including not using pesticides.”
In addition to the Wiley’s private pollinator garden, Berlin has pollinator gardens at Henry Park, Heron Park, Stephen Decatur Park and the town’s spray irrigation facility.
The Wileys continue to raise awareness about the significance of bees.
“We talk about it to our neighbors [and] our friends and encourage that kind of planting and cultivating of native plants as much as we possibly can,” Helen said. “We have signage in our yard to let people know if they want to ask us questions, we’re available.”
For more information, visit berlinmd.gov/save-the-bees/.