The city of Sandy Springs is doing its part to save the bees.
In an April 14 news release, the city announced it recently was designated as a Bee City USA affiliate, “joining municipalities across the country committed to sustain and support bees and other pollinators by providing these industrious insects with a healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free, to nearly free, of pesticides.”
Pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 90% of the world's flowering plant species. However, their population has decreased due to a combination of habitat loss, poor nutrition, pesticides, parasites and climate change. At its March 2 meeting, the Sandy Springs City Council voted 5-0 to approve a resolution to make the Bee City USA designation possible.
“It is crucial that we pay attention when hives disappear, especially when it is indicative of a trend. Bees and other pollinators play an important role in most of the world's food production," Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in the release.
At the meeting Paul, a third-generation beekeeper, said he’s pleased Sandy Springs has become a Bee City, adding several residents have contacted him about beekeeping.
“We have a lot of interest in putting hives in city parks,” he said. “You probably know that we … did have a hive at Lost Corner (Preserve) but it didn’t survive. I just urge anyone to (partner) with a person who is already a beekeeper or contact the (Metro) Atlanta Beekeeping Association. It’s a lot of work, and you’re going to get stung. It’s like any other piece of livestock. You have to learn how to manage it … and they do require care.”
The Sandy Springs Bee City Committee, an initiative of the nonprofit Environment Sandy Springs Inc., will facilitate the Bee City program's requirements. Programs include creating and expanding pollinator habitats on public and private properties and conducting educational campaigns.
Annalise Jones, a junior at the Atlanta Girls’ School, was one of the residents who pushed for the designation. Her parents, Laura and Bert Jones, have fostered a beehive in the back yard of their Sandy Springs home for several years.
“When Annalise expressed an interest in helping to designate Sandy Springs as a Bee City, I thought it would be a good idea to gather like-mined people and work with Environment Sandy Springs to make it happen,” Laura Jones said in the release.
Annalise Jones added, "It is truly incredible how large of an impact that pollinators have on the environment and society. After learning about their struggling populations, I knew that something had to be done about this environmental crisis.”
The group worked with Catherine Mercier-Baggett, the city’s sustainability manager, to apply for the designation. Mercier-Baggett will serve as a liaison between the city and the committee.