Pollinator Garden and Outreach Campaign

Why plant a pollinator garden?

  • More than half of bees species are on the decline and nearly a quarter are at risk of extinction.
  • Bee decline is due to a variety of reasons, including habitat loss and pesticide use.
  • The garden provides a pesticide free, food source for bees from flowering plants throughout the year.
  • Pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 90% of all wild plants.
  • 2/3 of crops rely on bees for the production of food.
  • In Ventura County nearly all crops rely on pollinators.
  • Crop production is significant financially and in terms of human survival. It is also important in terms of our national security – we need access to our own food sources and not be reliant on international trade.
  • Gardens provide an additional benefit – plants are responsible for alleviating the effects of climate change via the uptake of CO2, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
  • Plants promote wildlife diversity.
  • Roots prevent soil erosion and they help maintain water retention in the soil.
  • Plants keep the environment cooler (higher albedo – less sunlight gets absorbed).
  • If the environment near buildings is cooler, less air conditioning is needed – therefore less fuel needs to be burned to provide electricity. Ultimately, less  CO2 is released into the air.
  • Our first pollinator garden is a roof garden and research has shown that roof gardens keep buildings significantly cooler.

    Images from the pollinator garden located on the 2nd floor of Sierra Hall that students from Spring 2018 planted with the help of Ricky Medrano and Juan Cardenas.

Student Leaders:

Fall 2017: Peyton Demarest, Belen Carbajal, Minaxy Marquez, Karina Reyes, Maria Zepeda

Spring 2018: Karina Ferguson, Maritza Garcia, Haya Jaber, Melissa Rimpa, Heba Sititia, Rianna Smith

Fall 2018: Mikeilla De La Cruz, Jhaz Pierce, Sabrina Romero, Andrea Tapia



The Fall 2017 group proposed an innovative pollinator project, worked through approvals, logistics and wrote and presented a proposal. Ultimately, this project was funded by the IRA fund from their efforts.

The Spring 2018 group worked on implementing this project. This project had two main goals. The first goal was to raise awareness about the importance and the protection of pollinators via tabling, surveys, flyers, posting signs, green screens, and hosting an Earth Day table. Gina Matibag played an instrumental role in the help of setting up Earth Day and providing invaluable advice and guidance on the project. The second goal was to plant a habitat for pollinators on the second floor courtyard of Sierra Hall. The Spring 2018 student leaders, prepared the succulents, hardscaped and landscaped the garden with the help of groundskeepers: Ricky Medrano and Juan Cardenas. There are currently 65 varieties of succulents in the garden, such as: Barrel Cactus and Agave. Succulents were chosen due to their low maintenance nature, variety of flowering seasons and low water requirement. Through their research, the Spring 2018 group learned about Bee Campus USA status and sent this information to Coleen Barsley on her request. Over the summer of 2018, Barsley and her staff of students began filling out the application.  The students, Lisa Noriega and Jazmin Horvet filled out the application with input from various individuals on campus, including Assistant Professor Ruben Alarcon and Dr. Safa Khan. Alarcon was a significant contributor toward Bee Campus USA status due to his continued research on bees and his class offering on apiculture. From the collaborative efforts of many individuals, CSUCI was awarded Bee Campus USA status.

To maintain this prestigious status, the Fall 2018 group is continuing the pollinator project efforts. They will be planting a second pollinator garden and continuing outreach efforts. They are also working to get solar lights and a rain barrel installed in the first pollinator garden.

Spring 2018 students preparing succulents from the Hoop House.


Spring 2018 student leaders hosting an Earth Day table. Pollinator friendly plants were handed out and educational pamphlets and stickers.


Watch an 8 min Video of the Earth Day Event:


Watch a 1 min Video about CSUCI Bee Campus USA status:


Thanks to the following individuals for their support and guidance:

  • Gina Matibag, Administrative Analyst
  • Ricky Medrano, Groundskeeper
  • Juan Cardenas, Groundskeeper
  • Ruben Alarcon, Assisstant Professor in the Biology Department
  • Professor Simone Aloisio, Chair of the Chemistry Department
  • Coleen Barsley, Sustainability & Operations Analyst
Gina Mailbag working hard for the students on Earth Day.
First batch of honey produced by Ruben Alarcon and his students (Fall 2018).