Alberta has over 300 species of native bees, most of which are solitary, and all of which are vital for pollination. Urban organizations are particularly well-positioned to increase pollinator populations as cities have fewer pesticides and an abundance of flowering plants, temperate climates, and sources of water. Bow Valley College’s main campus is in the heart of downtown Calgary, a few blocks away from the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers and extensive river pathway system. As an urban campus close to natural spaces, we are well situated to support local pollinators. Throughout 2020 and 2021 we have made several efforts to support and educate about local pollinators. The Alberta Native Bee Council hosted two workshops with our campus members to communicate the importance of healthy native bee populations. Many of Bow Valley College’s learners are international students and new Canadians. These workshops have been a way to introduce these students to the unique ecosystems found in Alberta.
We have no grounds due to our downtown location. Using the limited space we do have, in 2021 we installed eight bumblebee nesting boxes and a pollinator garden on our fourth-floor terrace and green roof. The terrace was originally planted with native prairie grasses in 2014, but we wanted to increase the biodiversity of plants available.