PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In 45 states, there are cities and school campuses that are part of what’s called Bee City USA. We have a few of them here in our area, including Tualatin.

Tualatin City Councilor Bridget Brooks — affectionately called the “bee lady” by some of her colleagues — pushed for the designation in 2019. It’s now bringing her community together in more ways than one.

“I thought the designation of Bee City USA would help Tualatin be better stewards of the environment for the bees and join with other communities to be part of a pollinator corridor,” Brooks explained. “I was also concerned about pesticides and the health and well-being of our children and pets.”

Brooks tells KOIN 6 News the community has been enthusiastic about the bees and are excited by the opportunities for action.

“Getting involved and making a difference towards our pollinators has been embraced by our community,” she said. 

Bee City U.S.A. does not mean anyone must have a bee hive in their home. Instead, it’s about having the specific kind of plants that are great for the bumbling insects — and the city is noticeably different because of it.

Ibach Park, for example, no longer looks the way it did a few years ago.

Tualatin was designated a Bee City the same year as Brooks’ first term as a city councilor. She, along with her fellow community members, went right to work planting a pollinator garden at the park.

“We’ve had many events,” Brooks said. “Over 300 volunteers have helped install and nurture the pollinator garden.” 

Brooks tells KOIN that one of the great things about these Bee Cities is there’s no requirement to be a bee expert or scientist. However, community members do know they need to create welcoming habitats and protect the bees as best they can.

“If you plant — they will come,” she said. “It invites sort of their own ‘field of dreams.'”

As part of Tualatin’s “Celebrate Pollinator Week,” there are two upcoming events for anyone interested in learning more.

A “Creating Habitat Where You Live” event takes place on Tuesday, June 21, from 2-3 p.m. “The Buzz about Bees” event will take place on Friday, June 24, from 2-3 p.m. Both are free and open to everyone.

Find registration information online here.