Recently, I was on the official website for the city of Ypsilanti and noticed a badge that indicated they were a Bee City.

Naturally, this piqued my interest as I had never heard of a Bee City before. So, what exactly is a Bee City and what does that mean for the city of Ypsilanti?

Bee City, USA

First, let's start with what a Bee City is.

If a city is listed as a Bee City it's most likely part of Bee City, USA, a program created in 2012 with the goal of uniting communities wanting to help save the pollinators. It began in Asheville, NC but gained a second affiliate in Oregon by 2014. You can read their full history here.

What Does Bee City, USA Do?

Through their program, Bee City, USA helps communities, towns, and cities create a framework to participate in "pollinator conservation". That includes creating habitats, planting native plants, and keeping pesticides away.

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They also host community events to encourage community members to think outside the box when it comes to pollinators and the importance of their conservation. Read more here.

Ypsilanti became the 12th certified Bee City participant in June of 2015 committing to make their city safe for all residents, including its pollinators. They even hosted the Festival of the Honey Bee in 2019 that featured vendors specializing in beekeeping, people selling honey, bee-themed artwork, and more. While there are no announcements of upcoming festivals on the city's website, hopefully, that will change in the near future.

If you're able to and interested in starting your own pollinator-friendly garden, check out this quick video from National Geographic:

Ypsilanti isn't the only Michigan city that's listed as a Bee City. Currently, Ann Arbor and Dearborn are also either Bee City campuses or Bee City affiliates. See the full map here.

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