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Project Mission:

Our mission is to provide habitat and forage for honeybees, native bees and other pollinators while educating and sharing skills with the public about bees. Project Pollinate promotes the importance of holistic and natural approaches to farming, gardening and beekeeping, pollinator biodiversity and our relationship with the environment.

Project Description:

The keeping of bees paired with sustainable farming/gardening is a powerful way to support the environment while building strong, vibrant and connected communities. Project Pollinate in partnership with Santa Cruz Bee Co.,The Homeless Garden Project, Garfield Church, The Temple of the Bee , BASE Landscape Designs, Permaculture Design Course, Tigerlily Landscape  and Terra Nova Landscaping are working to establish the first three hives and supporting pollinator gardens as a part of a much larger network across Santa Cruz County. This project is primarily concerned with educating and sharing skills with the public and to provide an ongoing resource for community members and wildlife.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), aerial pesticides and neonic treated plants are just some of the factors facing the honeybee and other pollinators in our ecosystem. As recently as September 4th aerial sprays are being attributed to the death of over 46 hives or 2.5 million bees. In addition,  pests and parasites, some of which first arriving in North America in the 1980’s & early 1990’s, are reproducing faster than bees can handle. The only way we can help to stabilize our pollinator populations is by creating pesticide free, nutrient rich habitats that are protected from chemical interference in which pollinators can flourish.

Not only is the practice of tending and caring for bees have positive impacts on the environment, but it is also beneficial for the communities where the hives and gardens reside. Bridging generations and backgrounds, beekeeping is a proven educational method to build community while encouraging respect, inclusion, hard work, entrepreneurship, cooperation, trust and self worth. This interaction with the ecosystem not only encourages learning, it also develops stewardship and an appreciation for the connection we share with the earth.  

Goals:

  • To establish three initial hives and train a core contingent of community members in the art of beekeeping.
  • To introduce the larger population to beekeeping as a means of fostering respect for the environment and others, cooperation, self worth, trust and education.
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Project Pollinate is working with California for Pesticide Reform, Non-Toxic Santa Cruz and a coalition of local organizations and residents, to ban the use of these toxic pesticides in and around Santa Cruz City School and eventually the County.

We are advocating for the Santa Cruz City School District take a health-protective approach for our children and join this endeavour. Ways in which we are doing this include:

  • Attending Santa Cruz City School Board meetings to educate and encourage board members to place the issue on the agenda for a vote.
  • Collect personal experiences from those who are most directly affected by pesticide spraying at schools including PE teachers, gardening staff, janitorial staff, and those who work with chronically ill children.
  • Building coalitions of parents, teachers, political officials, labor unions and environmental organizations.

We are asking the district to protect our children by banning the use of toxic, carcinogenic pesticides and switching to proven and cost-effective organic landscaping. These landscaping methods also require 30% less water. We request the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers’ support in getting these toxic substances off our school grounds. Please stay in touch and we will notify you about our next opportunity to address this concern at a Santa Cruz Schools board meeting. We are aiming to have this district-wide pesticide ban as an agenda topic in April or May. Together we can create a non-toxic place for students, teachers, and staff to live, work, and play.

Other Advocacy Work Includes:

Bee City Santa Cruz

The Bee City Santa Cruz Program is working to establish a set of commitments by the City of Santa Cruz, defined in a resolution, for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet.  Once adopted, Project Pollinate will work to incorporate Santa Cruz into the larger “Bee City USA” model to be added to the list of other cities that have already taken the steps necessary to protect their native pollinators.

Our goal:

  • is to, together, make a difference in reversing the threat currently facing pollinators around the world.

By becoming a “Bee City” we will:

  1. Strengthen credibility for local grassroots pollinator conservation efforts
  2. Institutionalize the community’s commitment beyond any one elected official’s or staff member’s term of service
  3. open doors to widespread collaboration for establishing and maintaining healthy pollinator habitat within the community’s boundaries.
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Our diverse, inter-generational program, inspired by a successful Baltimore model, will form Clusters composed of 4-8 mentors committed to supporting one young adult through high school and into college.  Clusters will include a blend of Cabrillo students, UCSC students, artists, business or tech sector professionals, activists and community elders whose experiences align with their young adult’s interests. Cluster’s not only support the student through their high school career, but also encourage the development of social capital and exposure to a variety of fields, professions and careers that may help with job placement after graduation.

Young adults will begin recognizing their talents and passions, learning to help themselves and achieve an even greater sense of empowerment by becoming changemakers in our community. By contributing their unique viewpoints they will help to solve chronic social problems that might otherwise intensify the stress of their already complicated lives.

To provide students and mentors with maximum support – and to build even stronger relationships in our community, Clusters (including students) are woven together into an extended network of support called The HIVE. The HIVE facilitates peer-to-peer support among students and mentors and are coordinated by the HIVE Administration Team (The Keepers) who mentors the Queens and facilitate the sharing of resources and practices among Cluster Groups.