Roanoke Becomes A Bee City USA Affiliate City

On Friday May 12, 2023 at 11:00 AM, the City of Roanoke will be holding a kickoff event at Vic Thomas Park to announce Roanoke as a Bee City USA affiliate city. This event will include the unveiling of Roanoke’s first Bee City sign and speakers from local garden clubs.

“At the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Garden Club of Virginia, member clubs across the state were challenged to return to their cities and collaborate to pursue a Bee City designation by the Xerces Society.  Mill Mountain Garden Club and Roanoke Valley Garden Club immediately formed a partnership to protect our pollinators. Thus began a two-year march toward the designation. Spearheaded by Vickie Bibee (MMGC) and Katherine Knopf (RVGC) and an enthusiastic Team of City professionals including Leigh Anne Weitzenfeld, Laura Reilly, Cindy McFall, and Michael Clark, City Council approved an MOU with the Xerces Society in September 2022,” provided in a joint statement from Bibee and Knopf.

Bee City USA was launched in 2012 with the goal of promoting healthy, sustainable habitats for bees and other pollinators. In 2022, Roanoke City Council voted to adopt a resolution proclaiming Roanoke as a Bee City USA. The goal of joining Bee City USA is to promote, protect, and provide support for our pollinators by providing healthy habitats free of pesticides, using native plants, and encouraging community participation.

Vic Thomas Park is home to many wildflower gardens with pollinator-friendly species making it an ideal location for the kickoff event. Native pollinators are particularly important because they evolved alongside native plants and in many cases are the most effective pollinators.

“Parks and Recreation is excited for the Bee City designation that is happening as a partnership between the Mill Mountain Garden Club, the Roanoke Valley Garden Club, and the Office of Sustainability,” adds Laura Reilly, Landscape Management Coordinator. “As a Bee City, our department will seek opportunities to support pollinators in ways that will have a positive impact on the overall park experience for our community.  Through educational programming and sound landscape maintenance practices, we are looking forward to improving and developing more pollinator-friendly habitats throughout Roanoke.”

Everyone is invited to attend this celebration of Roanoke’s commitment to supporting our local pollinators.  For more information about the event, please contact [email protected].

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