Located at the base of the Niagara Escarpment (a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve), the Niagara College Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) campus benefits from its integration into the local native habitat, making it the perfect venue to develop initiatives that protect and enrich the natural environment. The Commercial Beekeeping program (the first in eastern Canada) has been involved in and benefited from past efforts for pollinator protection and its faculty has worked in close cooperation with the Office of Sustainability to ensure that pollinator health is a constant priority. In addition to academic programs, certifications such as Bee Campus and Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program encourage the tracking and monitoring of pollinator initiatives on campus; providing a platform for continuous improvement of pollinator health on campus.
This past year we have seen great change at the College, with a return to more in-person activities. This has led to more opportunities for students to get hands-on learning outside of the classroom and be exposed to information they may be interested in, but may not be pertaining to their current educational tract. One of the greatest challenges has been educating other faculty and students about leaving things for the pollinators, and that we don’t need to actually ‘clean and tidy’ up some of the more natural areas on campus as they provide habitat for native bee and other pollinators. We are in the process of standardizing our signage on campus, so we are hoping to include some educational material, as well as material on our social media and website that will help inform people. When the reason why an area is being left alone is explained, the person with the complaint sees the benefit but are just lacking the original education about the topic.