Pictured: The Franklin bumble bee. Also known as Bombus Franklini, this bee is sparsely distributed species making it endangered and localized to the western United States.
Important action is being taken across our state to protect honey bees. However, the public is less aware of the critical role Oregon’s native bees play in pollination and maintaining the healthy environment we all enjoy – nor of the threats they face. Did you know eight different species of native bees are currently listed on the United States Endangered Species List?
Here in Oregon, six bumblebee species are considered vulnerable or at risk. According to our friend Aimee Code at the Xerces Society, “the most imperiled is Franklin’s bumble bee, found only in a small area centered on Grants Pass. It was recommended for listing under the Endangered Species Act, but it might be too late as one hasn’t been seen since 2006.”
The health, diversity and sustainability of our ecosystems depend on wild and native bees, and we must act now to acknowledge and protect Oregon’s wild bee populations. We continue to move pollinator protections forward in Oregon by raising awareness and educating people about native pollinators and conservation issues.
Beyond Toxics has introduced important legislation to create policies that help us support our native pollinator species. We’ve had lots of success, as well as working with businesses and government officials to create bee-friendly campuses and cities!
Just this spring, we have worked with University of Oregon faculty, alumni, staff and students to get the University of Oregon registered as an official Bee Campus and to create ongoing conversations on campuses that keep our native bees in mind while making decisions about landscaping and insect removals. It’s also a nice way to give back to our community and be part of our local campuses in a very tangible, physical way.
Friends of native bees also have a nice way to support our work by joining us on the summer solstice at Silvan Ridge Winery for Bee Jazzy. On Thursday, June 21st, internationally acclaimed pop/jazz chanteuse Halie Loren will be taking a detour from her “From The Wild Sky” world tour to headline the 5th Annual Bee Jazzy, a benefit to save bees co-hosted by Mountain Rose Herbs and GloryBee.
This gala evening takes place from 5:30pm to 9:30 pm in the wine country of southern Lane County. Proceeds from the evening benefit our Save Oregon’s Bees Campaign.
“As a life-long lover of nature, I know how important bees are in creating and maintaining a thriving ecosystem. I love being able to support Beyond Toxics and the work that they do to preserve and protect the health of our precious pollinators,” says Halie. “And I love to play music in my hometown (performing in Eugene is a rare treat for me these days!), so it’s a multifaceted joy for me!”
In addition to jazz music by the Halie Loren Jazz Trio and opening act the Dana McWayne Quartet, Bee Jazzy features a silent auction with packages that include getaways to some of Oregon’s hidden gems and date night excursions to the opera or the theater. Two of Eugene’s favorite food carts, Navarro’s Latin Creole Kitchen and Sammitch Food Cart and Trucks, will be on hand with a selection of delicious food.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, and include a glass of Silvan Ridge wine. Visit beejazzy.org for tickets and full details.
Social Media and Pollinator Projects Manager