The Botanical Gardens at Asheville and Bee City USA-Asheville are excited to announce a new collaboration!
Beginning in January 2024, the BGA and BCU-AVL will jointly offer a series of 12 monthly classes covering pollination ecology topics and leading to certification as a Pollinator Advocate.
Why advocate for pollinators? One good reason is that they feed us. Over millions of years, pollinators and plants co-evolved in complex and mutually beneficial ways. Insect pollination is necessary for 75% of all crops that are used directly for human food worldwide, and nearly 90% of wild flowering plants could not reproduce without the help of a pollinator.
But pollinators are in trouble. One in four species of bumble bees native to North America are declining in numbers and at risk of extinction. Other pollinators are also in trouble due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change. In response, the Bee City USA national movement started here in Asheville in 2012 to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators, especially the more than 3,600 species of native bees in this country, by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides.
There is growing evidence that even small changes can make a positive difference for pollinators. By learning how – and why – to advocate for pollinators, you can make a difference, and you can help others learn how to support pollinators, too. Experienced instructors with expertise in various pollination ecology topics will lead the monthly classes, which will be held at the BGA and keyed to the time of year, mirroring the seasonality of pollinators and plants. For example, most of the June class will be outside, taking a pollinator safari to identify and photograph a variety of garden visitors including caterpillars, bees, butterflies, wasps, and beetles.
Classes will be held the second Monday of each month, from 6 to 7:30 pm at the BGA. The same classes will be offered in 2024 and 2025 allowing individuals to complete the certification at their own pace over two years. You may register for a single class or sign up for all 12 at a significant savings to become a Certified Pollinator Advocate. Certified graduates will also be required to “pollenteer” once with Bee City USA-Asheville habitat development project and once at an outreach event.
The 2024 C.P.A. Course Package is sold out! 2025 C.P.A. Course Packages will be available for purchase in November 2024. Individual Classes are now open for registration!
C.P.A. Series – 12 Course Package – SOLD OUT
Purchase All 12 Classes at a discounted rate
C.P.A Individual Classes
Member: $18.75 per class
Non-Member: $25 per class
Class List and Schedule
All classes are at Asheville Botanical Gardens
All classes are from 6:00p – 7:30p unless otherwise noted
All classes will be repeated in 2025, though specific days may vary.
|Introduction to Plant-Pollinator Co-Evolution
|Ever heard the expression, “There’s someone out there for everyone?” Co-evolution took care of that for plants and their pollinators over millions of years. That’s why flowers come in all shapes, sizes and colors and so do their pollinators! You’ve also heard, “Timing is everything.” Also true of when flowers and their pollinators emerge. This class celebrates that biodiversity.
|Gardens That Please Both People AND Pollinators
|Pollinator gardens sometimes get a bad rap for being “too messy” or “unattractive.” This class explores landscaping tricks that will even satisfy the strictest Homeowners Association guidelines while creating connected habitat, welcoming a wide variety of pollinators, and persuading neighbors to join in the fun.
|No Mo Mow? Reduce Lawns, Increase Habitat
|Want to learn how to minimize your lawn (and its unending maintenance) and maximize chemical-free habitat for wildlife? There are many alternatives that don’t have to cost a fortune but retain a tidy looking yard with options for shade, more flowers, and year-round interest. This class will explore ways to put turf to bed!
|All About Our Native Bees
|Hundreds of bee species are native to our Western North Carolina mountains. Pollen is their only source of protein, that’s why they actively–not accidentally–collect it. No wonder bees are considered the best pollinators in the temperate world! This class explores their life cycles, nesting habits and floral preferences.
|Preventing Mosquito Outbreaks to Protect Pollinators
|While male mosquitos may consume a little nectar and thus help pollinate some plants, their female mates are human bloodsuckers and vectors for diseases! Insecticides and equipment that kill adult mosquitos kill harmless, beneficial insects (including pollinators) as well. Adult mosquito killers are among a pollinator conservationist’s greatest challenge. Learn ways to keep mosquito populations in check without harming pollinators.
|Pollinator Safari at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville (Time TBD)
|Those darn butterflies, bees and beetles move so fast, it can be tough to identify them! Experienced instructors and equipment will take you outdoors at the Botanical Gardens to demonstrate safe (for you and the pollinator) catch & release techniques and handy online identification tools that will put names to faces.
|All About Butterflies & Moths
|Most of us recognize a monarch butterfly and a luna moth, but how much do we really know about our 177,500 lepidoptera friends? This class explores the major butterfly and moth groups, and their relationships with plants as caterpillars and adults, role in pollination, and value to birds.
|Pollinator-Friendly Pest Management
|Sometimes the cure can seem worse than the disease. So it is with pesticides for insects, funguses and invasive exotic weeds. This class provides pointers on defining what is truly a pest and when and how to manage it with the least harm to pollinators. PREVIEW: Insects sometimes viewed as pests, like wasps, are among the best pest managers, and diversity is a gardener’s best friend!
|All About Monarchs & Their Migration
|Talk about picky eaters! Monarch butterflies have captured the imagination of young and old with their exclusive milkweed diet and unfathomable migration from Canada to Mexico. This class will cover everything from milkweed seed collection and stratification to species options for different settings, dangers of tropical milkweed, the milkweed insect community, raising monarchs responsibly, reporting monarch sightings, and tagging monarchs.
|For the Love of Pollinators, Save those Leaves & Dead Stems!
|We like the leaves for shade and fall color, but they seem to become our dreaded enemy once they fall to the ground. If you want pollinators in the spring, keeping those leaves in your yard is essential. And if you want leaves, you better plant some trees—but which ones? This class teaches the role tree leaves (and dead plant stems) play in the lives of pollinators year-round and how to have a tidy yard–with lots of fallen leaves!
|Pamper Your Pollinators This Winter
|As the days grow shorter and darker, you can prepare for spring flowers. Now is the time for marking plants that emerge late (like milkweed), expanding flower beds the easy way, collecting native seeds, planting trees and shrubs, and building arbors for vines.
|Bee My Little Baby–Intro to Bee Nesting
|Those crafty bees have evolved to nest in creative ways depending on their species. Guess where mining bees nest? How about carpenter bees? What about squash bees? This class gives an overview of the variety of bee nests and guides each participant through the process of building a mason bee nest before the class ends, just in time for those early spring mason bees.