Campus Pollinator Project
UGA is committed to Protecting pollinators and their habitats
Pollinators provide humans with approximately one out of every three bites of food that we eat (scientists estimate based on 35 percent of the world’s food crops depending on pollinators to reproduce) Three-fourths of all the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators. Protecing pollinators, and their habitats, is essential to ensure a secure future and dependable food supply. UGA strives to model pollinator friendly practices and habitats through our certification as a Bee Campus USA by the Xerces Society (read our annual report below). UGA’s pollinator protection initiatives support healthy pollinator habitats through interdisciplinary research, education, outreach, and campus operations.
Why Protect Pollinators?
Bees are responsible for pollinating $15 billion worth of US crops every year according to the EPA. Georgia produces 20% of the vegetables grown in the United States, three quarters of which depend on bee pollination. Unfortunately, pollinators have declined rapidly in recent decades primarily due to habitat loss, disease, and chemical use.
Pollinators at UGA
Bees are the most common and efficient pollinators, but they are not the only ones. Butterflies, moths, birds, hummingbirds, bats, flies, and other insects also provide valuable pollination services.
Pollination is the act of transferring pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. Fine hairs all over bees’ bodies allow them to transport large amounts of pollen and effectively fertilize flowers. There are over 4,000 species of native bees in North America, as well as the European honeybee, which is the only social bee that lives in vast numbers in hives. Most native bees lead solitary lives and are very specialized at pollinating specific plants.
Pollinator Initiatives at UGA
- The Office of University Architects and Facilities Management Division Grounds Department emphasize the use of native plants and integrated pest management.
- Pollinator-friendly plants are incorporated into formal landscapes and pocket gardens throughout campus. Specific areas include the Ethnobotanical Garden, Trial Gardens, and Connect to Protect pollinator gardens. In addition, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, UGArden student community farm, and Durham Horticulture Farm provide extensive pollinator habitat.
- The UGA Campus Arboretum ensures sustained tree planting and maintenance while providing valuable opportunities for research and learning. The wide variety of trees planted on campus enhance biodiversity. Many of them are also considered to be “Trees for Bees,” meaning they provide substantial food and habitat for pollinators.
UGA offers pollinator courses throughout multiple disciplines, including:
- ENTO 3010 - Bees, Beekeeping, and Pollinator Conservation
- HORT(ENTO) 4770E/6770E - Discover the Wonderful World of Plants and Pollinators and Your Place in It - Service Learning
- HORT 3333E - Conserving Native Plants
- EDES 7350 - Landscape Management
- HIPR 6440 - Historic Landscape Management
UGA offers a variety of outreach programs for students and community members to expand public knowledge on the importance of pollinators and how to protect them.
- Connect to Protect combines public displays of native plants with educational materials to foster a more widespread public understanding of the role of native plants and pollinators in Georgia landscapes.
- The UGA Cooperative Extension has information on what the public can do to help protect pollinators.
- UGA Pollination Stations Story Map is an interactive map describing the primary pollinator areas on the UGA campus.
- UGA Pollinator Census is a citizen science event held over a two day period in April counting pollinators on any blooming plant on the UGA campus. UGA students, faculty and staff are invited to use our mobile survey and 15 minutes to contribute data to our understanding of campus pollinators.
A subcommittee of the Campus Arboretum Committee, the Campus Pollinator Committee meets regularly to discuss ongoing and new pollinator projects at UGA. Committee membership is composed of students, faculty, and staff representing multiple academic, operational, and public service and outreach units at UGA.
UGA has been recognized as a Bee Campus USA since March 1, 2021. Bee Campus USA affiliates make commitments to conserve native pollinators. Students, faculty, administrators, and staff work together to carry out these commitments and make their campus a better place for pollinators. Click here to view our 2022 Bee Campus USA report (PDF).