Bee City USA

For the City of Durham, the Summer Solstice Marked So Much More Than Just the Longest Day of the Year



On June 20, we had the first official day of summer and the longest day of the year! It was the day of the summer solstice and on it we enjoyed close to seventeen hours of sunlight. For Durham, N.C., however, this past Monday delineated not just a prolonged glow of the sun, it marked ten days since the city of Durham officially became the twentieth Bee City USA.

WHEREAS, the goal of BEE CITY USA is to promote healthy, sustainable habitats and communities for honeybees and other pollinators.

download-3Buzzing with excitement and radiating from its new title, “Bee City USA,” the city of Durham also began celebrating National Pollinator Week which lasts from June 20-26th. The week is a celebration of the valuable ecosystem services that bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles provide. Nine years ago, the U.S. Senate, making a monumental step in how the nation is addressing declining pollinator populations, unanimously decided to dedicate a week in June to pollinators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior designated June 20-26, 2016 as National Pollinator Week.

WHEREAS, thanks to the tremendous diversity of honey and native bees and other pollinators we have very diverse dietary choices rich in fruits, nuts and vegetables.

While Pollinator Week occurs annually for the duration of a week, being a Bee City USA is an every day of the year commitment a municipality makes to sustain pollinators, and the larger environment. On the evening of June 10th, the Durham City Council voted unanimously for Durham to make this commitment and to join the movement to turn the tide for pollinators across America.

WHEREAS, honey and native bees and other pollinators around the globe have experienced dramatic declines due to a combination of habitat loss, use of pesticides, and the spread of pests and diseases, with grave implications for the future health of flora and fauna.


Launched in 2012, the Bee City USA program endorses a set of commitments, defined in a resolution, for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet. For Durham, being a Bee City USA community extends the city’s credibility to local grassroots pollinator conservation efforts, institutionalizes its commitment beyond any one elected official's or staff member's term of service and opens doors to widespread collaboration for establishing and maintaining healthy pollinator habitat within the municipality’s boundaries.

WHEREAS, communities have the opportunity to support honey and native bees and other pollinators on both public and private land.

By designating Durham a Bee City USA, the city became the twentieth city to become a certified affiliate – both an honor and a responsibility. There are a total of 23 Bee City USA cities in the U.S., six of which are in N.C.! This distinction means that Durham is helping to make the world safer for pollinators.

WHEREAS, supporting honey and native bees and other pollinators fosters environmental awareness and sustainability, and increases interactions among community stewards such as commercial and backyard beekeepers, farmers, children, educators, Master Gardeners, plant nurseries, municipalities, neighborhoods, and garden suppliers and clubs.

We at Bee Downtown know, however, that none of this would have been possible without the work of amazing beekeepers, organizations, businesses and community members! Durham is home to Bee Downtown; it is where Bee Downtown was born and began. We are just elated that the birthplace of Bee Downtown is now a Bee City USA!

download-2WHEREAS, the goals of BEE CITY USA are consistent with the City’s Strategic Plan, which seeks to protect natural resources by limiting the environmental impact of city operations and fostering community partnerships.

Leigh Kathryn, Founder of Bee Downtown is so excited for Durham to recognized as a Bee City USA. She says, “It has been a long time in the making and it has been an honor to work with so many amazing community members, businesses and organizations to receive this designation. The city of Durham embraced Bee Downtown with open arms three years ago and we could not bee more proud to be part of the team that helped Durham become the 20th Bee City in the country!"

WHEREAS, in order to enhance understanding among local government staff and the public about the vital role that honey and native bees and other pollinators play and what each of us can do to sustain them, the City of Durham, NC agrees to meet the commitments required of all BEE CITY USA communities.

Bee City USA fosters ongoing dialogue in urban areas to raise awareness of the role pollinators play in sustaining three-quarters of the world's plant species and what each of us can do to provide them with healthy habitat. Cities, towns and communities across America are invited to make these commitments and become certified as a Bee City USA affiliate. All of us at Bee Downtown encourage you to propose the idea to your city’s leaders and town council members.


Section 1.The CITY OF DURHAM, NC accepts the designation and agrees to the commitments of BEE CITY USA. Section 2. This resolution shall be effective on and after its passage.


Written by Jojo Drake, Bee Downtown Media Intern