Pollinators and CCC
CCC recognizes the important role that pollinators play in our lives. Since 2017, CCC has increased the number of native plants across its campuses and centers through the installation of pollinator gardens and native grass plantings.
The plants chosen are native to Nebraska, making them hardy, low-maintenance, able to endure cold and windy winters as well as hot and humid summers. Plants were chosen to bloom throughout three seasons to attract pollinator insects.
On May 11, 2017, Central Community College's Grand Island Campus was named a Bee Campus USA. Our campus became the 29th school in the U.S. to be given this designation. Later, the college as a whole became designated as a Bee Campus and is currently the only one in the state of Nebraska.
The Bee Campus USA program endorses a set of commitments, defined in an application, for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet. 1 in every 3 bites of food we eat is courtesy of insect pollination. Equally important, 90% of all wild plants and trees rely on pollinators for the survival of their species. Pollinators are facing global declines due to loss of habitat essential for food and shelter, diseases and parasites, and inappropriate pesticide use. Bee Campuses work to protect pollinators by raising awareness, enhancing pollinator habitats, and celebrating achievements.
Thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, the Columbus Campus added a pollinator garden in August 2017. It is located south of the Facilities Management Office near the orchard trees. The garden is approximately 7,200 square feet and has about 1,460 flowers, grasses and shrubs.
For our Columbus Earth Month Event in 2023, we added a super bloom box from Nebraska Statewide Arboretum to the pollinator garden. We added several different species including Joe Pye Weed, Sideoats Grama, and a variety of Asters.
The Grand Island Campus had a new green space added in the fall of 2022 right outside the Administration Building. Several native species of trees, shrubs and plants such as Snowdrift Crabapple, Chinkapin Oak, Eastern Redbud, Snowberry, Baby Viburnum and Husker Red Penstemon.
In Spring 2017, two beehives were added to the Hastings campus to further enhance the educational experience with pollinators. One hive is located near the Pawnee corn garden and is managed by the Hastings campus culinary instructor. The second hive is located near the service road and is managed by the Hastings campus agribusiness instructor.
The Hastings HMRM program received a CCC mini-grant for a pollinator garden and planted it in summer 2017. The garden is by the east side of the Dawson Building. It is near the HMRM vegetable garden, which will in turn benefit from the pollinators.
In the fall of 2022, the Environmental Sustainability staff helped the Ord Learning Center to extend the Ord Pollinator garden, doubling the garden in size. In the following spring, the garden was again extended to cover just under 1,000 square feet, right along the Aubles Pond and Nature Trail. A few species of the plants added include Big bluestem, Sideoats Grama, Milkweed, Aster, Bee Balm and Horsemint.
We host an Earth Month event on the Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings and Columbus campus annually in April. Each event consists of sustainable craft making, composting demonstrations, and an expo for student’s state fair projects.
The Environmental Sustainability Office (ESO) at CCC has been actively working to restore and add new pollinator habitat around all campus locations and would like to share sources to serve our students and community. Whether you have a few feet of yard or a few hundred acres that are in need of landscaping, you too can create a vibrant and low maintenance habitat for pollinators! Below we have added some of our favorite resources to help point you in the right direction to identify species and create a successful pollinator garden!
1). Xerces Society – a nonprofit environmental organization
2). Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
4) Homegrown National Park
5). Plant Net is also a great resource to use for identifying plants. It’s free to download and you can use it right from your phone.
Environmental Sustainability Director