The bees' needs

  • bee illustration

  Golf courses are becoming a great place to learn about the birds and the bees.

A Portland, Ore.-based group says that with a little encouragement, native pollinators such as bees and beetles will easily inhabit golf courses. Only a small percentage of any golf course is used by golfers, and the rest has great potential for wildlife, says Matthew Shepherd of the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of invertebrates. Recently, the U.S. Golf Association donated $45,000 to Xerces as part of a national effort to enhance wildlife conservation, and so far, crews have planted native plants and erected 120 bee-boxes on three golf courses in the Columbia River Basin. The Xerces Society says leafcutter and Mason bees have built nests since.

"I think it has been a success so far," says Joe Towner, superintendent of Veterans Memorial Golf Course in Walla Walla, Wash. He says pollinator bees don't sting, and in his three years of involvement with the project, he has yet to hear a complaint from a golfer.

"Members support our philosophy of being good stewards," he says. Xerces plans to establish a Northwest Pollinator Conservation Program to promote conservation of native pollinators in Oregon and Washington. It is part of a region-wide, ongoing education campaign in the West. Contact the Xerces Society at 4828 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97215-3252, 503/232-6639, or on the Web:

Copyright © 2000 HCN and David Williams

High Country News Classifieds