While the Southern Blue Ridge boasts more biological diversity than any other temperate region on Earth, were it not for the pollinators, this would be a very dull place. Aligning with UNC Asheville’s commitment to modeling environmentally sustainable practices, traditional native pollinator meadows are incorporated into the campus landscape.
What is a pollinator garden?
Landscaped areas rich in native flowering vegetation and free of pesticides are pollinator gardens. Bees, beetles, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and some bats are targeted pollinators. These meadows provide pollinator habitat by supplying food sources and nesting habitat. A successful pollinator garden incorporates a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring to late fall.
Why are pollinator gardens important?
Pollinator health affects everyone. Western North Carolina is home to about 500 species of bees that pollinate blueberries, strawberries, apples, cucumbers, and countless plants on which wildlife depend. Many of our pollinators, from butterflies to bees, have become imperiled. The cause of pollinator declines are different for each species of insect ranging from chemical misuse, disease, invasive species, and habitat loss. The monarch butterfly’s 2000-mile migration is at great risk because we have replaced wild fields of milkweed with lawns, buildings, and pavement.
By creating habitat for native pollinators, members of the UNC Asheville community are striving to bring back these vital ecosystem contributors from their steep decline.
What is UNC Asheville doing for pollinators?
Over the past several years at UNC Asheville, hundreds of pollinator-friendly native plants have been planted, beginning beekeeping classes and workshops have been offered, beehives have been installed and maintained, and a bee hotel has been constructed. As part of its multi-dimensional commitment to sustainability, UNC Asheville is committed to maintaining educational, demonstration pollinator meadows and gardens in highly visible locations throughout the campus, including along the portions of the City’s greenways that the University maintains along Reed Creek and Glenn’s Creek Greenways.
UNC Asheville's recent designation as a Bee Campus recognizes all of the hard work that has already been done on campus while serving as a public commitment to enhance these efforts in the future.
• Melissa Acker, UNC Asheville - October 15, 2015: Integrating Pollinator Habitat Into the Landscape
• Randy Burroughs, October 15, 2015: Pollinator Meadows for Gardeners
• Phyllis Stiles, Bee City USA - October 15, 2015: Encouraging and Maintaining Attractive Pollinator Habitat
• B. Matthew Jasper, Chava Krivchenia, Bethany Beliveau, Melissa Acker, Jennifer Rhode Ward, UNC Asheville- October 15, 2015: Creating Pollinator Habitat with Native Plant Gardens at the University of North Carolina Asheville
Publications & Handouts
• Pollinator Syndromes
• Dry and Wet Meadow Landscape Design - Randy Burroughs
• Bringing Nature Home - What to Plant
• Native Cultivars vs Native Plants - Annie White
• Fauna Overwintering in or on Stems of Wisconsin Prairie Forbs by Andrew H. Williams
Create your own pollinator Garden:
Bee City USA, Bee Campus USA, The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, Monarch Rescue, and the Xerces Society have partnered with UNC Asheville, advising and/or providing financial support. Grant awards have been used to purchase plants and fund student positions in the pollinator gardens.
We are very excited about our newest partnership with the Asheville Design Center who designed and constructed a "bee hotel" to serve as nursery habitat for solitary nesting native bees.