Bee pollinator study at CMS headquarters
Contracting partner The Best Bees Company visits the hives at CMS to ensure everything is healthy.
On June 20, 2014, President Obama issued a memorandum calling on federal agencies to increase and coordinate their efforts to improve pollinator health by developing an integrated strategy. GSA was part of the task force that released the strategy in May 2015 that incorporates and identifies components to:
- Improve pollinator health by enhancing pollinator habitat at GSA facilities.
- Update GSA policies and plan to incorporate pollinator protection and habitat planting activities to help support administration sustainability and climate change goals.
- Enhance community engagement to develop relationships with local government, community and business groups near GSA facilities.
The GSA Center for Urban Development oversees this initiative, and worked with GSA Mid-Atlantic Region to select The Best Bees Company to install a pollinator garden at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland. The bees will make the CMS campus bloom by pollinating the surrounding clovers, sweet acacia, magnolia, oak trees, vegetable gardens and more.
“We pioneered the process of identifying the exact percentage of various pollen species found in honey through advanced genomic sequencing,” notes The Best Bees Company website. “Understanding where bees foraged reveals which plants best feed pollinators in the local environment.”
The data is shared with research partners such as NASA, Google Earth, MIT, Harvard and sister non-profit The Urban Beekeeping Lab and Sanctuary. This collaboration contributes to understanding the challenges surrounding bee survival. Incorporating pollinator protection and habitat planting activities also supports our sustainability and climate change goals. Best Bees' HoneyDNA research can enable humans to establish sustainable agricultural systems in future off-planet colonies. The data we collect from each GSA site may be used to replicate the plant diversity habitat for a future town on Mars or the moon.
Bees can produce up to 20 pounds of honey to share with our local community and pollinator gardens can serve as community spaces.
This article is part of the Summer issue of the FOCUS newsletter. Please visit the Focus Newsletter page .