Bee City Canada founder and director Shelly Candel on the strides we made in 2019:
Many thanks to all of you for supporting Bee City Canada in 2019 and especially our Bee City volunteers including our board directors for offering their time, passion and wisdom.
Over this past year, 39 new Bee City family members across Canada committed to protecting pollinators. Yippbee! This included 4 new Bee Campuses, 12 Bee Cities, 10 Businesses and 13 Schools. If you are looking to feel inspired, please take some time and look through these applications. You will find them on our web site. Our newest Bee City, The City of Calgary, has an exceptional and ambitious application committed to restore 20% of open spaces (832 ha) by 2025.
The beautiful pollinator gardens at Wintergreen Studios, who joined the Bee City family in 2019.
Although we are mainly a volunteer organization, we have brought on a talented young staff person, Caitlin Brant. She holds a Masters degree in Conservation Biology and I hope you will get the opportunity to meet and speak with her in the coming year.
When I started Bee City Canada close to 4 years ago, my main objective was simply to help our pollinators. What was clear, however, was that Phyllis Stiles, the founder and director of Bee City USA, had created something really. I am truly grateful to call her a friend and I can’t thank her enough for the difference she has made in my life and also the impact the Bee City phenomena has had on over 200 Bee City affiliates across Canada and the USA. Phyllis will soon retire and Bee City USA will be taken over by the Xerces Society. Knowing Phyllis, she will continue to work for pollinators in other capacities.
From the start, this has been a journey of love and passion for pollinators and people, a philosophy which is still deeply important to us here at Bee City Canada today. I continue to get such a thrill visiting new Bee Cities across Canada and chatting with pollinator champions, who are making such a tremendous difference in their communities. I love learning about bees and other pollinators, as well as the plants who depend on them for the life-giving process we call pollination.
Stein Valley Nlakapamux School in BC also joined Bee City in 2019. They have their very own farm to teach kids about the importance of pollinators!
The role of farmers and gardeners across Canada, and indeed the world, are vital to the success of pollinators going forward. We, as consumers, have the responsibility to ensure that we buy into regenerative agriculture and support farmers who support our environment . Regenerative agriculture encourages biodiversity of microbial life below the ground and at the same time encourages buzzing of all kinds of beneficial insects above ground, including those glorious bees!! The benefits of regenerative farming not only aid our pollinators but also mitigates climate change through carbon storage and a reduction in flooding.
I’m extremely excited to introduce several new initiatives for 2020. As a way of recognising the impact we as individuals have on the wellbeing of pollinators across Canada we have created the “Pollinator Pledge”. The pledge is a designation given to people who commit their yard, garde or balcony to the benefit of pollinators. Another initiative were introducing is the “Bee School Ambassador Program” which will see pollinator champions running workshops at schools nationwide. We also look forward to hosting the “Ontario Bee City Campus” summit where experts in the field of pollinator conservation will be sharing their findings on the state of pollinators and what Canadians can do to help.
“Mother Earth is so generous. If only we give her a chance, she will restore everything in absolute abundance and beauty.” Sadghuru
I wish all of our pollinator friends a very joyous holiday season!