City of Manassas, VA . . . In May, the Manassas City Council voted unanimously to become a Bee City USA®, joining other cities and campuses across the country united in improving landscapes for pollinators. The Council’s action is the culmination of months of effort by the Beautification Committee to accomplish this affiliation.
Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free of insecticides. Pollinators like bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds, and many others are responsible for the reproduction of almost ninety percent of the world's flowering plant species and one in every three bites of food we consume.
Each affiliate should hold public awareness activities; publicly acknowledge the commitment to the program through a standing committee, signage and web links; and prepare an annual report on habitat enhancement activities.
On June 26, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Beautification Committee is hosting a Bee Festival at Liberia House and gardens at 8601 Portner Ave in Manassas. The day will include music, arts and crafts, food, mead and beer and is free to the public.
“The City of Manassas Beautification Committee is honored to take part in saving this natural resource,” said Committee Chair Mark Olsen. “Bees are very important to the ecosystem and keeping plants growing. We look forward to seeing folks out at the Bee Festival on June 26 at Liberia House.”
Bee City USA especially encourages school gardens and educational programs for children.
“The program aspires to make people more PC—pollinator conscious, that is,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces’ executive director. “If lots of individuals and communities begin planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials, it will create large-scale change for many, many species of pollinators.”
“How each city completes the steps to conserve pollinators is up to them,” said Bee City USA Coordinator Molly Martin. “To maintain their affiliation, each affiliate is expected to report on their achievements and celebrate being a Bee City USA affiliate every year.”