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Clark College has been certified as a Bee Campus.!

Photo credit: Rich Hatfield


What is a Bee Campus?

A Bee Campus USA affiliate is a college campus that includes a bee habitat. In the spring of 2023, students, staff, visitors, and, importantly, BEES, will see native flowers sprouting up in gardens across campus. These flowers and natural areas where bees can make nests and lay eggs will help Clark establish this important bee habitat. 

Clark College—and other Bee Campus USA affiliates—show that the built environment (such as campuses, neighborhoods, city parks, and even roadsides) can feature a thoughtful design that allows bees to thrive in shared areas.

In April, 2023 Clark College earned certification as a Bee Campus affiliate, becoming the fifth college in Washington to earn that distinction.

image of yellow and black bee on a white and purple flower
Native Bees Rarely Sting...

Most of us think we’ve been stung by a bee. But truth be told, those of us who have been stung were probably stung by something other than a native bee.

Image of 2 brown bees in a yellow flower
Plant More Native Flowers…

Flowers provide bees with all the food they need. Bees use the pollen and the nectar to feed themselves.

Image of a bee in a pink flower
Though it’s always good to be cautious,

bees on flowers tend to ignore humans and they are not aggressive. And many of them don’t even retain the capability to sting!


Notice about the Bee Gardens

Clark College’s Bee Garden flowers aren’t all natives 

Our flowers started blooming in May. They are beautiful, and bees are visiting them for pollen and nectar, but the flowers are a bit of a disappointment to us. We had ordered seeds for flowers that are native to the Pacific Northwest, but when the flowers bloomed, we saw European poppies, toadflax, and other non-natives. These flowers are being used by the bees, but they aren’t ideal. The ideal flowers for native bees are those flowers that co-evolved with the bees for thousands of years. The perfect flowers for bees are those flowers that would have been in meadows in this part of the world 500 years ago! Somehow, between our ordering and our sowing, we received some native seeds but plenty of non-native seeds as well.

Here is our plan going forward 

We anticipate having to re-till and re-seed our gardens periodically. In the fall of 2023, we will apply more flower seeds on top of the seeds that will naturally drop from our existing flowers. We will re-double our efforts to ensure that we purchase native flower seeds, and we’ll use these seeds to re-seed our gardens as needed. By the spring of 2024 the percent of natives will increase, and we’ll continue to prioritize native seeds for our Bee Gardens.

What should I do if I have non-native flowers at home? 

What bees don’t use is lawns—so any flowers are better than the non-native grasses that we have in our yards. Some ornamental flowers are so hybridized for human enjoyment that they have lost much of the pollen and nectar benefits that bees need. Some roses, lilies and others have been bred to be pretty for humans and in so doing, they have lost some of what they historically gave to bees—pollen and nectar. On the other hand, there are plenty of flowers that people love as ornamentals, but bees use as well—sage, lilac…and European poppies! Some people have a combination of ornamental flowers plus native flowers. These yards offer plenty for humans and plenty for bees.

How can you be sure you have native flowers? 

When you buy flowers look for those that are native to the Pacific Northwest. If the flowers are already blooming, identify the flower using a phone app like iNaturalist or Seek. Once you’ve found the name of the flower, look it up and find the Latin name and then the RANGE of the flower. The range will let you know if it is native to the Pacific Northwest.


As a Bee Campus, Clark College is committed to offering education to students and community members about the region's native pollinators. This education might be in the form of biology labs, Community Science research contributions, environmental science service learning, Continuing Ed seminars, and Bee Units offered to nearby elementary schools.

Students in several disciplines at Clark now study a Bee Unit where they learn about our native pollinators.  For example, our biology majors’ students study native bees and gather data in spring-time bee surveys.


What have we done so far?

  • We have converted three acres of non-native lawn into native flower gardens.
  • Clark College is committing to sharing our Bee Gardens with school and community groups.
  • Clark College is committed to maintaining not only flowers for food but natural areas that bees use for nesting.
  • Clark College is committed to minimizing the use of toxic chemicals that are harmful to native bees.



Our Bee Campus coordinator :
Steven Clark

Can you bee-lieve it?


Do you have any questions about Clark’s Bee Campus?

  • Any ideas?
  • Are you interested in learning more about Bee Campus?
  • Are you interested in learning more about native bees?
  • Would you like to get involved or volunteer?
  • Would you like someone to talk to your group about bees?

Map of the Bee Campus Gardens

Download a PDF of the Map