Local university host new habitat for pollinators

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Insects now have a new spot in the Black Hills where they can pollinate with no problems. A local university is helping in the global fight to save the bees.

Bee flying around a flower

Black Hills State University has now become a bee-certified campus where they create sustainable habitats for pollinators.

"So we became designated as a Bee Campus USA because of our desire to protect and provide pollinator habitats for native pollinators in our area," said Black Hills State University sustainability coordinator Eva Chase.

The university joins more than 150 other bee cities and campuses across America helping to protect pollinators, but the application to be a Bee Campus was just part of it.

"So part of that application process was putting together a bee committee so that consists of experts within the university," said Chase. "As well as community members who also have expertise in the field of natural resource management."

The community and the university are working together because it impacts everybody who eats.

"One in three bites of food everyone takes is courtesy of a pollinator," said Chase. "So it affects us obviously because humans need to eat, but it goes beyond human needs."

The food forest only consists of part of the campus, so sharing won't be too hard.

"Our goal is to set aside about 17 acres over the campus, which is about 25 percent of our grounds, to manage organically. So as opposed to set aside a pollinator garden where we plant things that specific species will like," said Chase. "We are going to set aside these areas as pollinator or native areas so that native vegetation can grow there and some of that habitat loss that pollinator species have experienced can be restored."

Throughout the year, the university is planning pollination-type events. Hopefully, by June, staff will have a festival for pollination week.