Organizers working toward bee-friendly Columbus

Local groups are working to get Columbus designated as a safehaven for bees and other pollinators.

The Columbus Pollinator Committee, with support from the Columbus Design Institute, is pursuing the designation as a Bee City USA. A series of free public programs through this summer will encourage planting of native plants and flowers that provide vital food to pollinators such as butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

The Bee City USA designation is awarded by the Xerces Society and Columbus would be the first Bee City USA in Indiana. According to the society, Bee City USA works to sustain pollinators by increasing native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides. Bee cities also encourage pollinator conservation through education and outreach.

The kickoff event will be Friday May 21st at the Fresh Start Recovery Center in downtown Columbus. The center’s lawn is being redesigned by landscape architect Rachel Kavathe and will feature hundreds of plants purchased by the local Sierra Club chapter with funds from the Duke Energy Foundation. The planting work will happen during the Bartholomew County United Way’s service day.

There will be more opportunities to work at pollinator friendly areas this summer including at Fresh Start and at Blackwell Park. Efforts are also underway to create a pollinator friendly meadow at the Columbus Airpark Campus.