September 6, 2019

Media Contact:
Scott L. Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

WOODSTOCK, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a bold commitment to our environment and pollinator conservation by joining the “Bee City USA” coalition. As one of the first counties in the nation to become a “Bee City,” Howard County will commit to reducing pesticide use and creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet. Read more about the need to protect pollinators here. Photos from the event can be found here. Video can be found here.

“One in three bites of food we eat is the result of insect pollination. They are critical to our health and our entire ecosystem. Tragically, pollinators are in decline due to habitat loss, climate change, and the impacts of widespread pesticide use. We cannot wait for the rest of the world to recognize this crisis, we must innovate and be the model of leadership we want others to follow,” said Ball. “Our commitment to protect pollinators will align directly with our long-term work to combat climate change and build a safe, livable future for Howard County.”

“This is a significant step toward pollinator protection and pesticide use reduction,” said Howard County Council Chair Christiana Mercer Rigby. “At a time when global bee populations are being decimated by climate change and increased pesticide use, these protections are more important than ever. I commend the County and the community partners that have worked on this initiative.” 

“We could not be luckier as environmentalists, and in Howard County in general, to have a County Executive who has this much vision and this much drive to do this much good,” said Howard County Office of Community Sustainability Director Joshua Feldmark. 

This announcement adds to County Executive Ball’s visionary efforts to make Howard County a national model for local leadership on the issue of climate change. In addition to protecting pollinators, Ball has signed Howard County to the Paris Agreement, made Howard the first county in the nation to accept the U.S. Climate Alliance’s Natural and Working Lands Challenge, and signed an Executive Order to reduce the County government’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2050.

To respond to this crisis, Howard County has already taken steps to protect pollinators:

  • Created 55 acres of pollinator-friendly meadow habitat on Howard County parkland
  • Established Monarch Way-Stations at two County parks, which provide milkweeds, nectar plants, and shelter for monarch butterflies throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migration
  • Engaged professional researchers from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to conduct Bee Surveys at Centennial Park
  • Worked with the following partners to preserve pollinator habitat and support pollinator education and outreach activities: 
    • Howard County Conservancy’s Daisy Road Meadow Covenant  
    • Howard County Bird Club and Department of Recreation & Parks developed a pollinator seed mix that has been used at several County meadow sites
    • Howard County Public School System’s 3rd grade science Monarch program 

As a Bee City, Howard County also commits to:

  • Host at least one educational event or pollinator habitat planting or restoration each year 
  • Install a Bee City USA street sign in a prominent location and create a page on the Howard County website 
  • Develop and implement a program to create or expand pollinator-friendly habitat on public and private land
  • Create and adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) plan designed to prevent pest problems, reduce pesticide use, and expand the use of non-chemical pest management methods
  • Establish, through the County, a policy in the County’s General Plan to acknowledge and commit to the Bee City USA designation and consider other appropriate measures
  • After completing the first calendar year as a Bee City USA affiliate, each February, apply for renewal of Howard County’s Bee City USA designation 

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