Decatur is now a ‘Bee City’

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 21, 2016
Oakhurst beekeeper Deborah Palmer stands in front of a new mural in Oakhurst. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Oakhurst beekeeper Deborah Palmer stands in front of a new mural in Oakhurst. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated. 

Deborah Palmer couldn’t let it be.

An Oakhurst mural painted on behalf of Bayer, a company that’s been accused of creating a pesticide that’s killed off honeybee populations, generated a buzz among people who accused the company of greenwashing its record. Bayer contends that the evidence doesn’t support claims that its pesticide is killing bees.

Palmer wasn’t going to let the mural fly under the radar of unsuspecting passersby. In February she donned her beekeeper suit and handed out literature right in front of the Bayer mural. But she didn’t feel like that was enough.

“I was still upset,” Palmer told the Decatur City Commission during its June 20 meeting. “Then a few days later it occurred to me to take that energy and put it toward something positive.”

That something positive was a resolution, approved by the commission, declaring Decatur to be a Bee City USA. Palmer said Decatur is the first city in Georgia to earn that distinction.

The resolution requires that the city observe National Pollinator Week, which is the third full week in June, and keep tabs on “pollinator friendly activities” in the city.

City Manager Peggy Merriss said the Wylde Center is the city’s lead applicant and lead committee for the Bee City program. City arborist India Woodson will be the official liaison to the committee.

J.C. Hines, greenspace director for the Wylde Center, said the organization is working to make five sites in and around Decatur into certified pollinator habitats.

“We’re here to save the bees,” Hines said. “As you know that is a real important thing we need to do for future generations.”

Editor’s note: Due to a prior conflict, Decaturish was unable to personally attend the June 20 City Council meeting. This report was compiled by watching the live video feed of the meeting. 

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