City Commits to Pollinator Conservation: Joins Bee City USA Initiative Led by Detroit Hives

  • Detroit officially joins Bee City USA®, marking a significant commitment to pollinator conservation and ecological sustainability, as announced at a press conference attended by city officials, stakeholders, and community members.
  • The affiliation decision follows unanimous approval by Detroit's City Council, driven by months of collaborative efforts highlighting the critical significance of pollinator conservation in the region.
  • Bee City USA signage will be installed at municipal locations, public parks, interstate highways, and green spaces across Detroit, symbolizing the city's commitment to supporting pollinators and fostering environmental awareness.
  • Detroit Hives, known for revitalizing vacant lots and educating on pollinator conservation, will lead community engagement initiatives, including educational programs and public activities, aimed at enhancing pollinator habitats and promoting environmental consciousness within the city.


Today, Office of Sustainability Director Tepfirah Rushdan joined City Council President Pro Tem James Tate, representatives from the Detroit Bee City Committee and community partners to gather at the Brightmoor Pollinator Habitat to announce Detroit’s affiliation with Bee City USA®, celebrating Detroit's commitment to pollinator conservation and ecological sustainability.

In February, Detroit’s City Council unanimously voted to designate Detroit as an affiliate of Bee City USA®, aligning with numerous other cities and campuses nationwide in their commitment to enhancing landscapes for pollinators. The decision follows months of collaborative effort led by dedicated individuals and groups to secure this affiliation.

Tepfirah Rushdan, Director of the City of Detroit Office of Sustainability, said, “Our City Council has demonstrated a profound understanding of the importance of preserving pollinators and is committed to fostering a more pollinator-friendly environment within the city. We extend our appreciation to Detroit Hives for bringing this opportunity to our attention.”

Michigan is home to 465 native bee species, each playing a vital role within our ecosystems. Common bee species include mason bees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, and sweat bees. Cities like Detroit help nurture the bee community, rich in floral density, and has been proven to support pollinator conservation. With support from Bee City USA, the national organization’s framework on working with communities and municipalities on public and private land will help create a lasting impact within Detroit’s local landscape.

Bee City USA, an initiative spearheaded by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Portland, Oregon, aims to mobilize communities in sustaining pollinators by providing them with flourishing habitats rich in diverse native plants and devoid of harmful insecticides. These vital pollinators, including bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds, and many others, facilitate the reproduction of nearly ninety percent of the world's flowering plant species and contribute to one in every three bites of food consumed globally.

Detroit City Council President Pro Tem James Tate worked closely with Detroit Hives to bring forth the resolution as an initiative to highlight the importance of native bees and other pollinators in the City of Detroit and its commitment to preserving and enhancing the green spaces where they inhabit.

Detroit joins five other Bee City affiliates in Michigan, including the city of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti charter township, city of Ann Arbor, city of St. Joseph and city of Royal Oak.

Detroit Bee City pic1
Tepfirah Rushdan, Director of Detroit's Office of Sustainability, City Council President Pro Tem James Tate, and Timothy Jackson, Co-Chair of the Detroit Bee Committee, join community members to unveil Bee City USA signage at Brightmoor Pollinator Habitat, highlighting Detroit's commitment to pollinator conservation.


City Council President Pro Tem James Tate emphasized the City’s dedication to promoting pollinator conservation, stating “creating pollinator environments in Detroit can improve local biodiversity and ecosystem health, while also improving the City’s beautification and providing educational opportunities for residents. Additionally, these habitats can support agricultural productivity by increasing crop pollination, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and resilient food system.”

At the press conference, Timothy Jackson, Co-chair of the Detroit Bee Committee and Founder of Detroit Hives, unveiled plans for Bee City USA signage citywide, symbolizing Detroit's dedication to supporting pollinators and fostering environmental awareness. Unveiling the signage is one important step for the City, recognizing that Detroit needs additional policy changes to reflect the desires of residents and organizations passionate about pollinator-friendly environments and urban agriculture.

Jackson said, “We are delighted that City Council shares our vision for Detroit to actively participate in the Bee City USA movement. Bee Cities are important because they play a vital role in conserving pollinators, promoting biodiversity, supporting food security, and fostering environmental stewardship at the local level. By working together to create bee-friendly communities, Bee Cities contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future for people and pollinators. There are now six Bee Cities within the State of Michigan, and we are excited to have Detroit as the 207th certified Bee City USA Affiliate within the United States.”

Attendees engaged with the Detroit Bee City USA committee and Detroit Hives representatives, discussing upcoming initiatives to enhance pollinator habitats and promote awareness. The event concluded with a collective commitment to create a more pollinator-friendly environment, signaling a new chapter in Detroit's journey toward sustainability.

During the affiliation process, numerous organizations were engaged in discussions, including Detroit Hives, the Xerces Society and community residents.

“The program aims to heighten pollinator consciousness among people,” remarked Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of Xerces. “Through widespread adoption of native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials, significant positive impacts can be achieved for numerous species of pollinators.”

"According to Planet Detroit, 'Detroit's urban agriculture movement began in the 1890s and is now among the strongest in the U.S. The city boasts about 2,200 gardens and farms, many of which are influenced by programs like the Detroit Black Food Security Network, Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund, Detroit Hives, and Keep Growing Detroit.' Increasing our presence and the activity of native bees in urban environments is critical for ensuring the availability of fresh, healthy food for urban residents and promoting sustainable urban agriculture and food production practices," said Nicole Lindsey, Detroit Bee City Committee co-chair.

Detroit Bee City pic2
Brightmoor Pollinator Habitat in Detroit's District 1 is one of the community gardening and greenspaces dedicated to enhancing the landscape for pollinators.


Affiliates are encouraged to organize public awareness activities, publicly acknowledge their commitment through dedicated committees, signage, and web links, and compile annual reports on habitat enhancement activities. Bee City USA particularly encourages initiatives such as school gardens and educational programs for children.

“The program aims to heighten pollinator consciousness among people,” remarked Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of Xerces. “Through widespread adoption of native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials, significant positive impacts can be achieved for numerous species of pollinators.”

Laura Rost, Coordinator of Bee City USA, highlighted the flexible approach of the program, stating, “Each city determines the methods to conserve pollinators according to their unique circumstances. Affiliates are expected to report their achievements annually and celebrate their status as Bee City USA affiliates.”

Detroit Hives has been appointed as the facilitating committee for Detroit’s endeavors in engaging the community to advance pollinator conservation. The Detroit Bee City affiliate committee convenes virtually every second Sunday of the month at 10am, welcoming all residents, businesses, and organizations to contribute ideas for pollinator-friendly initiatives. Increased participation from individuals and organizations will accelerate the reversal of pollinator declines. To learn more how to join the event, visit DetroitBeeCity on Facebook.

Detroit Hives also recently received a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 1 to 1 Match Grant totaling $283,498.91 with its mission to transform eight vacant lots in Detroit by installing public green spaces and rain gardens and integrating native plants to attract pollinators and reduce stormwater runoff.

Detroit Bee City Committee Commits to Pollinator Conservation and Community Engagement

As a Bee City USA affiliate, the Detroit Bee City Committee, with support from Detroit Hives and the City of Detroit is committed to enhancing pollinator conservation by hosting annual educational events or habitat restorations to raise awareness and improve pollinator health. The city will prominently display a BEE CITY USA sign and maintain a webpage with key resources, including resolutions, contact information, activity reports, and native plant lists. Additionally, Detroit plans to develop programs that create or expand pollinator-friendly habitats, supported by a recommended plant species list and tracking enhancements by area.

Furthermore, the committee will adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) plan to minimize pesticide use and promote non-chemical pest control. The city's comprehensive plan, "Place to Bee," will incorporate BEE CITY USA commitments, reviewing pest management policies, and identifying locations for pollinator-friendly plantings. Each February, Detroit will apply for the renewal of its BEE CITY USA designation, including a detailed report of activities and payment of the renewal fee.

Detroit Boosts Bee City Agenda with Summer Events

Detroit’s affiliation offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the critical role of bees in our ecosystem. In further support of the Bee City Agenda, Detroit Hives and the Detroit Bee City Committee will be participating in several events throughout the summer, including Bee Yoga on Saturday, June 22, a Volunteer Planting Session on Monday, June 24, and Educational Programming at the Detroit Public Library Duffield Location on Friday, June 28.

Detroit Hives specializes in revitalizing vacant lots to improve the quality of life for both people and pollinators within underserved communities, while also educating the public on the importance of pollinator conservation. Additionally, through their BEE THE CHANGE Program, they educate the next generation of leaders on sustainability.

To read the Detroit City Council resolution designating Detroit as a Bee City USA affiliate, see here.

For further information on Detroit’s Bee City USA program, contact Timothy Jackson at [email protected] or Nicole Lindsey at [email protected]


About the City of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability
The City of Detroit's Office of Sustainability leads initiatives that reduce emissions, increase resilience and improve residents’ quality of life. The Office supports departments city-wide to advance bold climate goals set by the Sustainability Action Agenda and the Detroit Climate Strategy.

For additional information about the Office of Sustainability, please visit or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram

About Bee City USA
Thinking globally and acting locally, Bee City USA provides a framework for communities to work together to conserve native pollinators by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides. Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

For more information about Bee City USA, visit

About Detroit Hives
Detroit Hives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, working to improve the quality of life for people and pollinators by revitalizing vacant lots into educational green spaces. Founded in 2016, we exist in over 29 locations, collaborating with organizations, businesses, and schools to create a social, environmental, and financial impact. Additionally, through our BEE THE CHANGE program, we educate and empower the next generation of leaders on sustainability.

For more information visit:

For more information about Detroit Hives, visit https://www/
For more information about Detroit City Council, visit
For more information about Bee City USA, visit
For more information about the Xerces Society, visit
For more information about the most recent Detroit Hives grant, view press release here

About Xerces Society
For more information about the Xerces Society, visit
For information about four simple ways to help pollinators, visit