Hanks said Bee City USA will educate Carrboro residents so they can have a positive impact on pollinator communities.
“It engages more people in our community to understand and be aware of the issues that are going on with the pollinators and how the way they manage their land, their yard, their farm affects the pollinators in our community,” he said.
Randy Dodd, environmental planner for Carrboro’s Planning Division, worked with Hanks this summer to research Bee City USA and presented the proposal to the board at Tuesday’s meeting.
He said the planning department and the Environmental Advisory Board would work together to carry out the Bee City program, which will include creating a Bee City USA street sign in a prominent location, annually celebrating National Pollinator Week and disseminating information to the public about building pollinator-friendly habitats.
Carrboro Alderman Sammy Slade, who is a beekeeper, said Bee City USA would raise people’s awareness of how pesticides affect bees’ lives.
“I have been struggling with my bees because they are disappearing and not surviving,” he said.
“Part of this is because of pesticides that people use in town and possibly in farms near town.”
He said the program would be helpful for beekeepers like him.
“I think it’s a great way to raise awareness for the public to learn about all the ways that bees are central for our ecosystem and how we can help the ecosystem — not just in rural areas but in our small town,” Slade said.
Hanks said he hopes to kick off Bee City USA with an event to educate the public about green and healthy plants that will not endanger pollinators’ lives, such as flowers native to North Carolina.
“We will first start off with an annual event where we bring the public to the farmers market to look at plant alternatives that are not synthetically, chemically treated,” he said.
“What we are looking for is to showcase local farmers or nurseries who grow healthy, North Carolina native flowers and so people will know what to plant that is green and healthy.”
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Hanks said the program could become a model for other towns and cities.
“I see this spreading,” he said.