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Wilfrid Laurier University

Bee Campus Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus has been officially designated as a Bee Campus

Wilfrid Laurier University has a five-year Sustainability Action Plan that includes prioritizing planting a variety of native plants to support native pollinator populations. We have a number of active pollinator projects underway, including our most recent pollinator garden and our Pollinator Spiral which provides a habitat for ground-nesting bees and other beneficial insects. Our very own PolliNation – a social enterprise started and led by students through Enactus Laurier – is helping to further steward pollinator-friendly activities and initiatives over the coming years. Through this designation, we hope to raise awareness, inspire others through our various initiatives and impact the environment in a positive way.

Laurier earns its pollinator wings with official Bee Campus designation

May 2023

2023 Renewal

Over the past year, the Bee Campus experience has been positive for our students, staff, and faculty. As a Bee Campus, Wilfrid Laurier University has found a number of ways to involve our community with pollinators and increase awareness across our campuses. Our engagement opportunities span from social media to in-person engagement to maximize our reach. Through our social media, we raise awareness on the importance of pollinators, and highlight pollinator week. One of team members, Christine also has a very active social media page dedicated directly to the campus apiaries and to raising awareness about pollinators – @laurier_apiary. We also have held tours of our community garden, pollinator garden, and pollinator spiral for Laurier’s Thrive Week, focusing on how students can utilize natural spaces to improve mental wellbeing. Over the last summer we have also held workshops with students to plant another pollinator garden which includes a small patch for pollinator friendly herbs which can then be taken and used by students on campus. The workshops were facilitated by a Master Gardener from the Region of Waterloo and maintained by students throughout the summer. We have also partnered with the Laurier’s Student Public Interest Research Group to have students from across our campuses visit our apiaries to interact with the bees, take part in a honey tasting, and learn about the process.

Our campus is in the process of revamping our pollinator spiral and garden to provide more opportunities for the Laurier community to get involved on campus. We will continue to maintain the new pollinator garden in our community garden, and are working on plans to support naturalization of the Indigenous Student Centre to focus on indigenous plants to the areas including pollinators. We are also looking at increasing the number of apiaries we have and replicating where they would be feasible on in our community garden. We are also working on a plan to have an interactive apiary on the Waterloo campus where students could see inside the hive and hear the bees as they work which would be used for classes and for tours. We are also in the process of updating our pollinator signs to shift to Bee Campus signage in the various areas around our buildings and in the larger pollinator gardens.

May 2023

February 2021

2021 Renewal

Throughout the past year, the Bee Campus experience has been very successful and rewarding. As a Bee Campus at Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) we have created several different activities to raise awareness in our community. In June, we organized a social media campaign to celebrate International Pollinator Week. Throughout the week, we promoted a variety of activities to appeal to youth, young adults, and families and encouraged our audience to aid in the declining bee population. We began by spreading awareness on this issue through publishing interesting bee facts. In addition, we hosted a colouring contest and provided an opportunity for artists to share their work surrounding bees and nature. One of the most popular activities was at-home crafts and activities, explaining how to make your own bee bath and pollinator garden using native plants. We also created our first quarterly newsletter. Through this publication, we share engaging articles and facts regarding bees. The quarterly newsletters will continue to be published at the beginning of each new season so participants best understand the needs of bees at different time periods.

At the beginning of 2020, PolliNation delivered their Bee Leaders programming at elementary schools in-person. Due to the current pandemic, we transitioned to an online environment through our Summer Buzz virtual camp. This program featured 4 sessions that were led by special guest speakers and focused on how to be a changemaker. The first session was about PolliNation and the current pollinator crisis. Finally, a member on the PolliNation team was able to present at the ceremony for Waterloo Region becoming the first Bee Region. At this event, PolliNation was able to present a bee hotel to the region.

February 2021

October 2019

Bee Campus Application

We submit our application to become a Bee Campus because we are dedicated and passionate about pollinator conservation and sustainability. At Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier), we are currently the most sustainable campus in Ontario, and we are striving to become number one in Canada. As a campus, we have demonstrated our commitment to sustainability and pollinators in a number of ways. First, we have several gardens on campus that were designed specifically for pollinators, including our most recent 225 square foot pollinator garden funded by WWF and Telus! We have also constructed a Pollinator Spiral (Figure 1) which provides approximately 36 linear feet of dedicated habitat for ground nesting bees and other beneficial insects, generously funded by the Community Environmental Fund of the Region of Waterloo. This spiral is located on a one acre plot at our Northdale campus where there are many pollinator friendly initiatives that have been developing for years, including the Patchwork community gardens, our growing food forest, the WLU market garden and training plots, and our native bee research in collaboration with the University of Guelph. Laurier is also working to become a more green and sustainable campus overall. To achieve this goal, the Laurier Sustainability Office has created a five-year sustainability action plan where one of our goals is to partner with both internal and external programs that are dedicated to helping the environment. Included in this plan is our commitment to ongoing support for pollinators on campus. In addition to institutional support, our student body is also actively interested in restoring bee populations. PolliNation is a social enterprise started and led by students through Enactus Laurier.

PolliNation is taking the lead on the Bee Campus committee to help further steward pollinator-friendly activities and initiatives over the coming years. Currently, after consulting with native bee experts, PolliNation has created an updated version of our bee hotels to help educate and build awareness throughout the community (Figure 2). Laurier has also held lectures and workshops about bees to increase awareness around campus and with community members. Our Bee Campus committee, led by PolliNation, plans to continue to hold events and continue this important work.

October 2019
Bee Campus Wilfrid Laurier University

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