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Novacane performs. UO OSPIRG hosts the "Bee Bash" in the EMU amphitheater as a call to action to ban neonic pesticides and save the bees on Nov. 29, 2018. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

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Alyssa Gilbert, campaign coordinator for OSPIRG's "Save The Bees!," poses with a bee balloon during the Bee Bash on Nov. 29, 2018. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

The Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group hosted a “Bee Bash” in the EMU amphitheater Thursday afternoon to raise support for banning the use of bee-killing pesticides in Oregon.

The Bee Bash featured live music from local bands Novacane and Cherry Meltdown, as well as free giveaways including Honey Stix, balloons and seeds for plants that bees like to pollinate.

The UO Bee Friendly Committee and Cascadia Action Network were also in attendance to support the cause and speak to students about the importance of bees.

OSPIRG has been working on a campaign throughout fall term to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the state of Oregon. Some studies have linked neonicotinoid pesticides, also known as neonics, to declining bee populations.

The Eugene City Council passed a resolution in Feb. 2014 banning the use of neonics on city property, and the European Union and Canada are both in the process of banning their use in agriculture.

Prior to the Bee Bash, OSPIRG collected more than 1,600 signatures in three days from students on the UO campus for a petition urging the Oregon government to ban neonics.

“We wanted to celebrate the progress we’ve made this year, and do something fun,” said Alyssa Gilbert, OSPIRG’s “Save the Bees!” campaign coordinator.

Gilbert also said that they received an email of support from Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who OSPIRG hopes will take up their cause of banning neonics in the state.

According to OSPIRG, their campaign received additional endorsements from local restaurants who want to support bee populations due to their critical role in keeping food available and affordable.

Maria Rechdouni, founder of the Bee Friendly Committee, noted that UO received a Bee Campus USA certification in May due to the university’s bee-friendly work on its Urban Farm project. The City of Eugene was declared a Bee City USA affiliate in July 2018 as well.

Rechdouni also said that she hopes that future Bee Bash events will feature more booths and people to better increase support for bee populations.

Students who want to learn more about OSPIRG and the Save the Bees campaign can message @ospirgstudents on Instagram or Facebook to get information about meeting times or volunteer opportunities.


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