Catawba College is working to make its campus more pollinator-friendly. The school has officially become an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program.

The nonprofit program, based in Portland, Oregon, helps communities and colleges nationwide create and sustain healthy, pesticide-free pollinator habitats.

Officials at the Salisbury campus say their primary focus is on bees, but other native pollinators include a variety of butterflies, moths, beetles and hummingbirds.

Hannah Addair works for the Catawba College Center for the Environment, which is leading the initiative.

"These pollinators are crucial, not only for the pollination of crops and flowers, which crop pollination has been estimated between $18 and $27 billion annually in the U.S., but also these native pollinators are a food source for our birds, for our bats," Addair said. 

The Center's Executive Director Lee Ball adds that as development encroaches on the natural world, the school can act as a living laboratory for ecological best practices.

"So people can come here and learn and see real examples of what's possible," Ball said. 

Catawba College is also an affiliate of Tree Campus Higher Education, another program aimed at improving sustainable habitats.

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