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Bee Friendly Williamstown

Project Details

Year: 2018
Location: Williamstown
Project Manager: Anne O'Connor, Williamstown Selectboard Chair and Bridget Spann, Caretaker Farm


The town of Williamstown approved a non-binding resolution in May 2017 declaring the town a pollinator-friendly community. The resolution seeks to change residential and institutional landscaping practices by promoting ways to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides that scientists believe are harming bee populations. The project team hosted training programs for landscape professionals and home owners, conducted tours of pollinator-friendly gardens and worked with local partners on educational opportunities for adults and children.

Activities and Events

March 5 Workshop: Organic Lawn Care for Homeowners
March 6 Workshop: Organic Lawn Care for Professionals, including continuing education credits for licensed pesticide applicators
March 9 Film: Keep the Hives Alive & The Last Honey Hunter and Panel Discussion
April 22 Film: Keep the Hives Alive and Panel Discussion
April 28 Lecture: Native Pollinators for Garden and Yard
May 6 Event: Bee Happy Day at the Clark Art Institute
May 8 Lecture: A Pollinator's Buffet
May 16 Lecture: It's Time for Plan Bee
May 27 Community Planting
June 16 Lecture: Planting a Pollinator Friendly Garden with Native Plants
June 17 Film: Keep the Hives Alive and Panel Discussion
June 17 Community Planting
June 24 Butterfly Walk

Future Plans

The campaign’s success prompted the project team to continue work beyond the grant cycle.  A Williams College Center for Environmental Studies summer intern is working on Bee Friendly Williamstown activities over the summer in order to continue with this education and awareness campaign.  The team partnered with Western Massachusetts Pollinator Networks on the 1,001 Pollinator Gardens initiative, so “Wild for Pollinators” yard signs are now appearing around town.  They are tabling at a large artisanal food and craft festival in neighboring North Adams in late July and at the Mass MoCA concert of the band Blondie (whose album “Pollinator” addresses their concerns about this issue). They are currently helping organize a “Beekeepers and Friends” garden tour with the participation of Kim Skyrm, MA Apiary Program Coordinator with MDAR. They are also pursuing contacts at local institutions, including banks and medical facilities, to encourage pollinator-friendly landscaping that is visible in the community.  A local golf course owner invited the team to consult with him about pollinator-friendly landscaping for his course. 

Additionally, the work has inspired many community members to take action. Two residents at a local senior housing facilities advocated successfully for their owner to adopt organic lawn care.  Residents of a 24-home condo complex on about 5.5 acres of land working to persuade their condo board to be more bee-friendly.  Numerous homeowners have reported making changes in their landscaping, from ceasing “weed&feed” treatments to planting native pollinator-friendly plants and letting portions of lawn go unmowed.

This page updated Wednesday July 25 2018