By: Councilwoman Theresa Coates Ellis — With many initiatives brought forth for the good of the community, one that I am most passionate is saving our pollinators. As a Master Gardener trained years ago with the Prince William Master Gardeners (they still train interested gardeners!), I plant native in my home, taught students, homeowners, landowners and as your Manassas City Councilwoman the importance of this best practice. This is the best guide for planting native: Native Plants for Northern Virginia and has a free PDF version to download for reference.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, I was the patron for the historic garden at Liberia House working with Manassas City, gardeners, naturalists, and lovers of nature to plan and dig to install these native plants. Once the garden was established, we celebrated saving the pollinators. Today we are thankful to the Prince William Master Gardeners and local gardeners and naturalists who maintain the gardens — they always need help — reach out to them if interested on their website: mgnv.org.
After several years of planning and visiting with committees in the City, I worked closely with the Beautification Committee, the City staff, Prince William Area Beekeepers Association (they teach how to be a beekeeper!), Master Gardeners, Native and Wildflower Gardeners, Naturalists and Native Bee specialists for a Bee City USA designation for Manassas City. Council approved the resolution unanimously. I even featured the beekeeper in one of my Shadow for a Day programs — connecting students and learners with careers and interests.
With that designation, the annual Manassas Bee Festival was launched with thousands in attendance at Liberia House now with an apiary that my husband and I maintain with fellow beekeepers to teach about bees, pollinators and native plants to the community.
Our next Manassas Bee Festival will be Sat., June 24th 10am-2pm during Pollinator Week. We are continuing to raise awareness to plant native, encourage natural habitats for pollinators, and to save the bees and all pollinators in decline who are critical to our growing food source.
I hope I can count on your vote for re-electing Theresa Coates Ellis to Manassas City Council to continue this important work as an elected official to benefit our future. Early voting is now until Sat. Nov. 4 at 9025 Center St. Manassas or on election day on Nov. 8th at your regular precinct.