Towns seeks recertification of ‘Bee City’ recognition by looking out for pollinators
By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Nov. 14, 2019) Increasing the pollinator population in Berlin remains an important pursuit for the town, as it continues the recertification process as a Bee City USA affiliate.
“With the issues with the bees disappearing and the other pollinator[s], it’s kind of good publicity trying to make people aware,” said Bee City Committee member Mike Wiley. “A lot people aren’t even aware of how important the pollinators are.”
Wiley and his wife, Helen, are members of Berlin’s Bee City Committee, along with several other residents and town staff. Berlin’s Administrative Manager Kelsey Jensen said that roughly 13 members attended the first meeting on Oct. 22.
Berlin’s Town Council adopted a resolution to be certified as a Bee City USA during a May 29, 2018 meeting.
Prior to the certification, Jensen said that several Salisbury University seniors took an interest in mitigating the declining bee population, and gave a presentation to the Town Council during a Dec. 10, 2018 meeting. At that point, they had made bee boxes and implemented a pollinator garden in Heron Park, formerly known as Berlin Falls Park.
Berlin became the nation’s 69th Bee City USA affiliate last year, Jensen said.
“At the time, I thought it was pretty cool we were the 69th city out of the entire United States,” she said.
That number has since grown to approximately 100 Bee City USA affiliates across the country, according to the Bee City USA website. In addition to Berlin, Salisbury, Howard County, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and Highland Beach are also participating in Maryland.
Jensen said Berlin’s Bee City USA designation requires an annual proclamation commemorating “Pollinator Week” in June, and a webpage on the town website, berlinmd.gov. She added that committee members also will improve existing pollinator gardens and create new ones throughout town.
Pollinator gardens are installed in several sites throughout town, including Stephen Decatur, Dr. William Henry and Heron parks.
The Wiley’s also have a pollinator garden in their yard. They’ve done extensive research to get their garden just right, and he added that their yard was certified as a wildlife area by the National Wildlife Federation.
“We have it staggered so … we have one garden that we just put in that’s five different plants, but always one of them is blooming from early spring through fall,” Wiley said.
The committee has until February to complete the recertification requirements. Jensen said the town is also updating its pest management plan, but clarified that it’s not required to obtain the designation.
Jensen also said the committee created signs informing people about the different types of pollinators and the types of compatible foliage. Jensen added that she hopes to have more people participate during the upcoming events including Berlin Clean Up Week in April.
“We thought it might even be a good thing for some community engagement to see if anyone had any interest in coming out and helping us start a couple more,” she said.
Wiley agreed, and said he hopes this certification yields positive results.
“[It’s] mainly to get more people in Berlin interested, in it and increase the number of people that put pollinator gardens in,” Wiley said.