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Posted on: November 16, 2023

Spearfish becomes ‘Bee City USA’ affiliate

Bee City USA

SPEARFISH, SD – Spearfish has become a “Bee City USA” affiliate, joining many other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators. The action is the culmination of months of effort by the Parks and Recreation Department and the Bee City Committee to accomplish this affiliation. 

The unanimous vote to become a Bee City USA was made on October 2, after a presentation by Tyler Ehnes, Parks and Recreation Director, to city council members. 

Mayor John Senden said, “Our city council let it be known that we understand the importance of sustaining pollinators and want to make Spearfish more pollinator-friendly. We are grateful to our Parks and Recreation staff for bringing the opportunity to our attention.” 

We are thrilled that the city council shared our vision for Spearfish to join the Bee City USA movement,” said Rex McDonald, Parks Superintendent, who played a leading role in the campaign.

McDonald explained, during the process of applying for the affiliation, a number of organizations were brought into the discussions including city staff from Parks, Engineering, Planning and Zoning, Black Hills State University Sustainability and Grounds Maintenance, Beautify Spearfish, Northern Hills Master Gardeners, Sunrise Hives, Beck’s Nursery, Tree Wisemen - Tree Care, and local residents concerned about native pollinators.  

Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, with offices across the country. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free of insecticides. Pollinators like bumblebees, sweat bees, mason bees, honeybees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds, and many others are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90 percent of the world's flowering plant species and one in every three bites of food we consume.

The program aspires to make people more PC — pollinator conscious, that is,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces’ executive director. “If lots of individuals and communities begin planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials, it will create large-scale change for many, many species of pollinators.” 

How each city completes the steps to conserve pollinators is up to them,” said Bee City USA Coordinator Laura Rost. “To maintain their affiliation, each affiliate is expected to report on their achievements and celebrate being a Bee City USA affiliate every year.

Each affiliate should hold public awareness activities; publicly acknowledge the commitment to the program through a standing committee, signage and we blinks; and prepare an annual report on habitat enhancement activities.

Bee City USA especially encourages school gardens and educational programs for children. 

The City of Spearfish has designated the Bee City committee as the facilitating committee for Spearfish’s efforts to engage the community in promoting pollinator conservation. The Bee City committee meets on the third Thursday of the month at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall and invites all residents of Spearfish to offer their ideas for pollinator-friendly initiatives. The more people and organizations involved, the sooner pollinator declines will be reversed.

For more information about Spearfish’s Bee City USA program, contact Rex McDonald at

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