Middletown recently became the first municipality in Frederick County to be designated a Bee City USA municipality.
In June, Middletown voted to become a Bee City. The vote followed months of work by the Sustainability Committee. After the Board of Commissioners passed the resolution to become a Bee City USA affiliate, Bee City USA confirmed its designation in late September.
“Our [sustainability] committee really understands that vital role that pollinators play and certainly want to do what we can to help sustain them,” said Cindy Unangst, Middletown staff planner and Sustainability Committee co-chair.
Unangst credited Sustainability Committee member and town planning commission chairman Mark Carney with filling out the application and doing the leg work for the certification, adding that the committee is fortunate to have a lot of compassionate people who care about the environment.
“It certainly seemed like it was right up our alley and we thought, ‘Hey, we got the Tree City USA designation, let’s go for this,” she said. “We certainly thought that based on what we’re required to do to continue this certification, it was certainly easily enough done for us.”
Some of the work to be done includes installing pollinator habitat sites around town, having a standing committee and installing a Bee City USA street sign.
“How each city completes the steps to conserve pollinators is up to them,” said Bee City USA Coordinator Molly Martin, according to a news release from the town of Middletown. “To maintain their certification, each affiliate is expected to report on their achievements and celebrate being a Bee City USA affiliate every year.”
Bee City USA is part of nonprofit Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
The program’s mission is to “[galvanize] communities to sustain native pollinators — responsible for 1 in 3 bites we eat and the reproduction of almost 90 percent of the world’s flowering plant species — by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants, and free to nearly free of pesticides,” according to the Bee City USA website.
These pollinators include honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, among many others.
There’s also an side to the certification that will include educating residents about pollinator sites and encouraging them to create pollinator sites on their own land.
A list of native plants will also be available to residents so they know what plants will benefit the project.