The City of Guelph’s official plan recognizes that maintaining pollinator habitat is essential for supporting healthy ecosystems and encourages this in City-led and private development projects. Guelph has also developed strong partnerships with numerous community groups, like Pollination Guelph, as well as schools and other organizations that are actively engaged in helping pollinators and protecting their habitats. The Hydro One Corridor Meadow Project, which recently transformed several acres of invasive, non-native buckthorn into meadow habitat, is one such initiative. We encourage you to review Guelph’s application to learn about other projects and future plans.
Visit one of Guelph’s community pollinator gardens.
2022 was the City of Guelph’s fourth full year as a Bee City. We continued to scale-up the naturalization work carried out by our in-house planting crew. See section 3 and attached appendix files for details regarding habitat-related enhancement achievements by our planting team. Over the last few years, partly related to COVID restrictions we refocused our community engagement efforts on supporting our community partners and their events rather than hosting city-led events. We have found that this model is usually the most efficient and effective way to engage with our community so we have continued it this year but have scaled up the number of events and partners. In part due to changes resulting from the pandemic we have found that there has been increased interest and demand for community gardening and as a result, Guelph’s community gardens grew again in 2022. One new pollinator garden started in 2022, and several gardens expanded in size. This provided more habitat for pollinators in the city.
The following includes some of the initiatives and media coverage various partners the city supports received for their efforts related to pollinator and naturalization habitat development and enhancement in 2022:
Pollination Guelph, one of the partner organizations we support has an annual grant program focused on pollinator habitat creation and improvement. In March they announced their funding program for 2022, and award recipients were announced in April. This year, grants were focused on planting, enhancing, and/or maintaining sustainable pollinator habitat in Guelph and Wellington County.
2021 was the City of Guelph’s third full year as a Bee City. Although we had to downscale some of our plans for community plantings and events once again due to COVID, we did move ahead with a few, plus we scaled-up the naturalization work carried out by our in-house planting crew. See section 3 for details regarding achievements by our planting team.
We made the decision in early 2021 to focus our community engagement effort to supporting our community partners with their events rather than hosting city-led events. We’re hopeful that COVID conditions will be more favourable in 2022 and we’ll be able to host several community planting events in addition to continuing to support our partners for their events. In part due to changes resulting from the pandemic there has been increased interest and demand for community gardening and as a result, Guelph’s community gardens grew in 2021. This provided more habitat for pollinators in the city.
2019 was the City of Guelph’s first full year as a Bee City. Bee City status helped provide support for work that both community members and the City of Guelph implemented to benefit pollinators. Overall feedback from media and the community on being a Bee City was positive. One challenge we have found is that it can be difficult get a large turnout for volunteer community events specifically focused on pollinators. National Pollinator Week which typically takes place in late June is an especially busy time as it coincides with the end of the school year. Nonetheless education about pollinators is incorporated in a number of community events and volunteer plantings throughout the year so engagement on pollinators takes place in other ways. Many of these were part of larger volunteer initiatives but included some focus on pollinators.
Pollination Guelph (a local partner) hosts an annual Pollinator Symposium, which focuses specifically on education and sharing knowledge about pollinators is also a very successful way to educate the community about pollinators.
The City of Guelph Official Plan recognizes the important role that pollinator habitat plays in supporting ecosystem functions across the city. Official Plan policies encourage opportunities to protect, maintain and enhance pollinator habitat.
Pollinator Habitat is defined as natural areas within the landscape that contain indigenous plants, shrubs, and trees that provide pollen, nectar, and other floral resources for pollinating insects and other animal pollinators. In addition, these 6 areas may provide appropriate nesting sites, such as exposed soil, rotting logs, cavity trees, hollow-stemmed plants, and host plants specific to local pollinators. As a result of these policies, pollinator habitats are often part of the discussion for City-led and private development projects. During the review of development applications, proponents are encouraged to incorporate native, pollinator friendly plantings/gardens. For example, during the planning and development of the MetalWorks Condominium site in downtown Guelph (53 and 63 Arthur), pollinator gardens were incorporated into the landscaping along the Speed River’s Riverwalk area which is privately owned but publicly accessible.