Our beginning: "accidental" inspiration
I love stories about coincidences that lead to new and unexpected paths in life - I have plenty of stories to tell myself, including this one! Flashback to May 2016. A vacation to Ashville, NC with my neighbor Gale to "see the sights" led to a discovery that has transformed into my new passion for building sanctuaries in western Massachusetts for the hundreds of pollinators that provide numerous ecosystem services. Before that trip I was well aware of bee colony collapse and the struggle to identify a cause and create solutions to help honey bees. I remember thinking that I was seeing far fewer bees and butterflies around than years passed. It was frustrating thinking that scientists might need a few years to figure out a working solution. Frankly it was scary to hear more and more news about threats to pollinators. Were we going to have to hand-pollinate our food?
Then in Ashville we came upon a well-placed sign in a wildflower garden outside the Tourist office labeled “bee friendly garden”. We began seeing similar signs all over town, and became excited that people were doing something to expand habitat. Suddenly it made me want to become more informed, recruit a large “bee brigade” back home, and learn how to give the natural world back to bees and butterflies.
I am super grateful to BeeCity USA for their initiative and especially for the prominent signs, which, if they hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t be reading this right now! BeeCity USA was founded by a small group in Ashville who proposed that the city adopt pollinator friendly landscaping practices through a resolution that was passed easily. The group launched the non-profit to replicate their accomplishment throughout the US where there are now 49 member cities. Who knows, western Mass might become the first BeeRegion USA!
Peggy MacLeod, Florence, MA
Happy to be starting up this learning curve!