As part of National Pollinator Week 2018, Keep Durham Beautiful in Durham, North Carolina, hosted their first ever Pollinator Garden Tour – by bike!

Together with several partners, including Bee City USA, Burt’s Bees, the Durham Bike Cooperative, CompostNow, Bee Downtown, Durham Central Park, and Honeygirl Meadery, this one-of-a-kind event sought to educate the public about the importance of pollinator health and habitat in the Durham community and showcase local efforts to protect them. Over 50 riders of all ages and abilities came out on a hot, sunny day in early June to visit 10 different sites across Durham, which included bee hotels, community gardens, bee hives, pollinator gardens, and more. To make the event more accessible, LimeBike provided free rides to anyone without a bicycle of their own.

The event began at the Durham Bike Coop, which also hosts their own bee hives! The riders made their way down the South Ellerbe Creek Trail to the Pearl Mill Preserve, which hosts a pollinator garden sponsored by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. From there they traveled to East Geer Street, where a cluster of hives managed by Bee Downtown and an Interfaith Food Shuttle Community Garden coexist, tucked away and nearly unnoticed by passersby on this busy city street. After exploring the garden and hives, riders continued to the North Street Community Garden, where they were warmly received by the residents of the intentional living community there.

From there it was a short hop to the next sites, the “Air Bee-n-Bee” native bee hotel and the “Garden of Eatin’” edible garden, both located in Durham Central Park. Crossing the busy streets of downtown Durham, the group made its way to the American Tobacco Campus to the headquarters of Burt’s Bees, which boasts an incredible Observation Hive and mural. After receiving free lip balm from the tour guide, the group continued to the second to last stop, the aptly named Prairie Island. This land reclamation initiative by local organization Extra Terrestrial Projects took what used to be a kudzu matted hillside and transformed it into a showcase of native Durham grasses and pollinator-friendly plants such as Purple Coneflower and Milkweed.

The final stop of the tour was Honeygirl Meadery! Two hours and six miles after beginning, the riders were met with a tantalizing spread of snacks donated by local eateries GuglhupfWatt’s GroceryHarvest 18, and Boulted Bread, and received a free taste of Honeygirl’s newly released Lavender Mead. Keep Durham Beautiful and Triangle Land Conservancy staff were on hand to educate the riders about steps they could take to help improve pollinator health and habitat, including the best native pollinator plants for their gardens. KDB is grateful for the support of many community partners and to the City and County of Durham for making this incredible event a reality!