SENR’s Terrestrial Wildlife Ecology Lab Contributes to 50-State Milestone for Nationwide Forage Initiative

March 28, 2019
Grant from Feed a Bee used to Establish Pollinator Habitat on Pipeline Rights-of-Way in Eastern Ohio.
From the Field:  Grant from Feed a Bee used to Establish Pollinator Habitat on Pipeline Rights-of-Way in Eastern Ohio

The Terrestiral Wildlife Ecology Lab (TWEL) in the School of Environment and Natural Resources is creating diverse food and habitat areas for honey bees and other pollinators. These efforts are contributing nationally to the promotion of new pollinator forage. With TWEL’s help, the Feed a Bee initiative has reached a milestone - funding planting projects in all 50 states to support honey bee health. Gabriel Karns, a visiting assistant professor and his research team used Feed a Bee funds to convert over 20 acres of pipeline corridors to pollinator habitat using Integrated Vegetation Management techniques.

Awarded a $5,000 Feed a Bee grant for its unique project proposal in 2017, Bayer’s award was used to conduct low volume foliar herbicide applications to eliminate woody plant encroachment on rights-of-way and encourage beneficial forbs that pollinators require.  The 20 acres were distributed over 10 sites across 4 counties, and partners on the project included Ohio Division of Wildlife, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, Marathon Petroleum, and several private landowners.  The Feed a Bee grant was entitled “Integrated Management of Pipeline Rights-of-way Vegetation as an Alternative to Mechanical Maintenance: Promise for Pollinators.”  While the title of the awarded proposal is a bit of a mouthful, the project demonstrates how conservation can be successful on working lands in the energy sector.

Feed a Bee set out in 2017 to provide funding for pollinator-attracting plantings in all 50 states, and recently reached that goal with help, in part, from organizations like the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Through the distribution of more than $650,000 in grants for pollinator-focused planting and education projects, Feed a Bee, a national initiative by Bayer, has partnered with nearly 170 organizations that are making contributions in the pollinator space. 

“Programs like the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative and research aimed at improving how we manage for pollinator habitat on working lands is what our Feed a Bee effort is all about,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager, Bayer North American Bee Care Program. “Ensuring bees and other pollinators have the forage they need to thrive is important for all of us, and Bayer encourages everyone to get involved.”

Source: Gabe Karns, Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources