The Daily Northwestern

Ecology Center partners with Burt’s Bees, Walgreens to help pollinators

The Evanston Ecology Center is collaborating with the Pollinator Partnership and Burt’s Bees to provide habitats for pollinators, including birds, bees and butterflies. Five plants will be donated to the Evanston Ecology Center for every Burt’s Bees lip balm purchased at the Net Zero Walgreens.

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The Evanston Ecology Center is collaborating with the Pollinator Partnership and Burt’s Bees to provide habitats for pollinators, including birds, bees and butterflies. Five plants will be donated to the Evanston Ecology Center for every Burt’s Bees lip balm purchased at the Net Zero Walgreens.

Rosalie Chan, Reporter

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The Evanston Ecology Center is partnering with multiple organizations in an attempt to provide more habitats for local pollinators and increase awareness about their plight.

The center is working with the nonprofit Pollinator Partnership and Burt’s Bees in a new initiative to help to support pollinators, including birds, bees and butterflies.  

For every Burt’s Bees lip balm purchased at the Walgreens, 635 Chicago Ave., from now until April, five plants will be donated to the Evanston Ecology Center. These plants will serve as habitats for the pollen-transporting creatures. Pollinator Partnership, which works throughout North America, estimates the U.S. has lost more than 50 percent of its managed honey bee colonies in the last ten years. A simple way to support pollinators is to provide native plants which nectar and larval food. 

“I have for a long time been interested in pollinators, pollination and the threats they face,” said Claire Alden, the ecology center program manager.  “We were interested in educating people on this, so we jumped on board.”

The Evanston Ecology Center will plant different pollination gardens, such as those for birds, bees and butterflies, at the Ladd Arboretum, 2024 McCormick Blvd. The gardens will feature signs to educate people on pollinators and the threats they face.

“We’ve been working with the ecology center to decide the best location and the best plants,” said Lauren Oliver, brand manager at The Clorox Company, which owns Burt’s Bees.

The Evanston Ecology Center has collaborated with these groups since November.  It is currently in the early stages of planning for the garden, and the planting will take place around June.  The center aims to gain 5,000 plants.

“We hope to increase awareness of beneficial pollinators and the threats they face, such as habitat loss,” Alden said.  “I’m hoping that will start a community-wide awareness.”

The Pollinator Partnership has worked with Burt’s Bees on various programs in the past.  When the Net Zero Walgreens opened in Evanston last year, it sought partners to support its sustainability initiative and reached out to Burt’s Bees. The one-of-a-kind Walgreens produces as much energy as it consumes through renewable energy.  The Pollinator Partnership helped locate the Evanston Ecology Center to collaborate with for the promotion.

“They had the best knowledge of bees and pollinator plants, and they were a great partner to work with,” Oliver said.

Oliver said this was the first retail partnership with a community that Burt’s Bees has done.  They hope to spread awareness on pollinators such as honey bees, as well as support partners that have environmentally friendly goals.

Mary Byrne Rager, plant ecologist at Pollinator Partnership, said honey bees contribute $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually, and one out of three bites of food come from pollinators.

“At the end of the day, pollinators need more habitats,” Rager said.  “The number one thing you can do is plant pollinator plants.”

Email: rosaliechan2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @rosaliech1

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