MU certified as a "Bee Campus USA" affiliate

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COLUMBIA - MU recently joined the ranks of 16 recognized bee-friendly campuses across the U.S.

Bee City USA is a group of pollinator advocates that aim to raise awareness, enhance habitats and celebrate achievements of groups around the nation who protect bees.

The group also encourages college students to participate in these efforts by applying for the official Bee Campus USA designation.

MU student Megan Tyminski, who also works as a communications intern for Mizzou Botanic Garden, was in charge of spearheading MU’s application.

“We’re actually doing a lot of these things already as a University, so we might as well compile our accomplishments together and set a formal committee and apply to become one,” she said.

She said she was confident that MU’s sustainability efforts, environmental symposiums and guest speakers would distinguish the university throughout the process.

Tyminski said receiving the Bee Campus USA designation will be way to show the rest of campus just how invested she is in sustaining pollinator populations.

She said her interest in bees stemmed from observing their relationships with one another.

“I think they’re so altruistic and they’re considered a superorganism, so everything they do is for the good of the hive," Tyminski said. "They have a lot of challenges facing them right now with climate change and misconception.”

Tyminski said bees are not the only organisms facing difficulties.

“Birds, bats, bees and butterflies all could use our help right now, which is actually one of the main goals of Bee Campus USA,” she said. “They focus on a lot of different pollinators besides honey bees.

Mizzou Botanic Garden Director Pete Millier said people may not realize just how important pollinators are to their lifestyles.

“A third of our diet comes from plants that are pollinated and have to have some sort of insect interaction to pollinate them,” he said.

Without these pollinators, Millier told KOMU 8 News our diets would be impacted.

“We would probably have an even higher rate of obesity, diabetes and all those chronic sort of conditions that diet drives,” he said.

For those interested in helping the bees and other pollinating species, Tyminski said it possible to do so.

“Anyone can get involved and plant pollinator friendly plants which have nectar and pollen-rich resources for them,” she said.

Now that MU has the official Bee Campus USA recognition, Tyminski said she believes this will inspire more action.

“I think the recognition will push us to do more and encourage people to also collaborate with us for new ways to sustain pollinator populations,” she said.

More information about MU’s pollinator protection efforts can be found on the Mizzou Botanic Garden website.