Bullington Gardens Partners with Hendersonville Tree Board to Expand the City’s Bee City USA Program

Hendersonville Tree Board and Bullington Gardens have created a new partnership to coordinate and expand Hendersonville’s commitment to its Bee City USA initiative. Bee City USA, a national program launched in 2012, supports and recognizes communities that work to sustain and protect pollinators.  Hendersonville was the seventh Bee City USA in the nation, established by City Council in 2015.  Hendersonville Tree Board and Hendersonville Sustainability Board were assigned by Council at that time to oversee the program. Now, Bullington Gardens will coordinate pollinator education and outreach programs and produce the website while the Tree Board will provide oversight and continue to sustain and protect pollinators in the City via tree-planting and other environmental programs.

Established in 1989, Bullington Gardens is a partnership of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension and Henderson County Public Schools. Located at 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, this public botanical garden sits on 12 acres of rolling land, providing hands-on education in horticulture and other sciences to students, youth clubs, and adults. It is the only public garden in Henderson County that provides horticultural therapy especially for children and adults with physical or mental challenges. With its native and ornamental plants, forest, and numerous themed gardens it provides a place for children and adults to explore the important role of pollinators in our world.

Bullington Gardens, a nonprofit, welcomes volunteers to join the Bee City USA - Hendersonville Leadership Committee, which is now being formed.  To learn more or to volunteer, visit the NEW website.

Former Environmental Sustainability Board member and former coordinator of Hendersonville’s Bee City USA program Kim Bailey said, “The partnership with Bullington Gardens opens up even greater opportunities for our community to create healthy habitats for pollinators.”

Henderson County has a long history as an important agricultural area, and currently produces 85% of the apple crop in North Carolina.  Thus honey bees, native bees, and other pollinators are essential partners in our agricultural output.  About 90% of all flowering plants and trees also rely on pollinators for their survival. The Bee City USA program helps raise awareness of the role and importance of pollinators.  Today, there are 279 city and campus affiliates in 44 states. 

Since its beginning in 2015, Hendersonville’s Bee City USA program has partnered with numerous community groups to establish seven demonstration pollinator gardens along Bearcat Loop (near Hendersonville Elementary); to plant a 4.7-acre pollinator meadow and several “pocket meadows” along the Oklawaha Greenway; to coordinate countless pollinator educational events during Pollinator Month activities; to raise over $40,000 to fund The Good of the Hive mural and the demonstration pollinator gardens at the Hands-On! Children’s Museum in downtown Hendersonville; and to participate in the creation of The Hendo Beeline sidewalk mural stretching over 800 feet along Fifth Ave. East to Seventh Ave. East.

The new Bee City USA - Hendersonville Coordinator, Patrice German, said, “There are many parallels between our mission at Bullington Gardens and the purpose of Bee City USA in Hendersonville.  I think this partnership will be productive for the whole community. ”

Hendersonville Tree Board, which oversees the Bee City USA program, is commissioned by the City of Hendersonville to provide advice on the selection and care of trees and shrubs, and to help educate the public concerning the economic, environmental, and aesthetic benefits of trees, shrubs, pollinators, and native plantings.  The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Hendersonville as a Tree City USA for 30 years because of its high level of urban tree management.  In 2018 the N.C. Forest Service recognized the city as Tree City of the Year in North Carolina.

For more information or to volunteer with the City’s Bee City USA program, contact Patrice German, coordinator, Bee City USA Hendersonville, at beecityhendersonville@gmail.com or Annie Higgins, administrative director, Bullington Gardens, at 828-698-6104.