Conservation Outdoors

Throughout June, Join Asheville’s 12th Annual Pollination Celebration!

Dr. Stephen Buchmann

By Phyllis Stiles

The reading of the Pollination Celebration! proclamation by the Asheville City Council on May 28 heralded the start of an event that has captivated our community since 2013. This declaration set the stage for the 12th annual Asheville Pollination Celebration! Hosted by Bee City USA – Asheville, it’s a collection of events that has grown over the past decade to become a cornerstone of community education and action in environmental stewardship. This year’s line-up promises to be an enriching convergence of knowledge, nature and community spirit.

Pollination Celebration! originated as a few events aimed at raising awareness about the crucial role of pollinators. Over the years, it has blossomed into a sequential “festival” that attracts hundreds of conservation enthusiasts, native gardeners and families interested in doing their small—but incredibly important—part for pollinator conservation.

Thanks to the sponsorship from Reems Creek Nursery, we can reach a wider audience this year. “Reems Creek Nursery has been a supporter of Bee City almost from the beginning,” says owner Wilma Penland. “We feature native plants and our own pollinator garden, as well as workshops on pollinator gardening, because as the famous entomologist E.O. Wilson said, ‘Insects [and especially pollinating insects] are the little things that run the world.’”

One of the highlights of this year’s Celebration! is the eagerly anticipated The Bee’s Needs: Understanding and Supporting Pollinators Summit on Saturday, June 22, co-sponsored by Warren Wilson College. We are honored to welcome Dr. Stephen Buchmann, a renowned pollination ecologist, researcher and university professor. Buchmann is the author of 11 books, including What a Bee Knows, The Reason for Flowers and The Forgotten Pollinators.

“Pollinators play a critical role, not just in natural ecosystems but also in our agricultural systems,” he says. “It’s essential we understand and support them before it’s too late.” His keynote is expected to ignite discussions and inspire action. Buchmann’s presence brings an academic rigor to the Summit, which will offer a range of presentations, interactive exhibits and direct conservation strategies. “This Summit isn’t just for experts; it’s for anyone eager to make a real difference right in their backyard or community,” Buchmann adds.

New this year to the Pollination Celebration! is Pack Library’s Pollinator Film Fest. Starting on June 1, we are thrilled to offer four free film screenings of renowned documentaries like Wings of Life and Flight of the Butterflies. These films offer cinematic glimpses into the world of pollinators, showcasing their beauty and complexity. Buchmann was chief scientist on the Wings of Life film. The showings offer the perfect outing for families and film enthusiasts alike to meet and mingle with conservation experts. “These stories are powerful; they weave science and beauty together, compelling us to act,” says Jen Waite, Pack Library librarian, “We’re delighted to collaborate with Bee City USA – Asheville to host this festival.”

In addition to the Summit and film festival, the month-long Celebration! features a variety of events including AVL Honey Fest, the Pollinator Safari at Asheville Botanical Gardens, workshops on planting pollinator-friendly gardens and a kids’ scavenger hunt for pollinated foods at the North Asheville Tailgate Market. Each event is aimed at deepening the community’s connection to nature and enhancing our collective impact on local ecosystems.

The ongoing success of Pollination Celebration! reflects a growing community awareness and involvement in reversing pollinator declines. By providing tools, knowledge and inspiration, the celebration empowers individuals to contribute to the health of the pollinators that enable an astounding 90 percent of the world’s flowering plants to produce. What would we do without them?

This year, immerse yourself in the world of pollinators and join a community dedicated to preserving the beauty and biodiversity of Asheville and beyond.

For more information and a complete schedule of area events, visit Phyllis Stiles is chair of Bee City USA – Asheville.

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