Some exciting initiatives are taking place in Kitchener, including a 2018 project at Huron Natural Area that will see eight hectares of meadow habitat restored and enhanced with plantings of forbs, grasses and shrubs to support native pollinators.
We plan to continue to attend public events and have partnered with the local MUSEUM to support some programming. We will host a film night again at Kitchener public library and will host a Pollinator Festival in June. Both of these events will be hosted in partnership with Bee City Waterloo.
Our habitat restoration projects will continue along the Iron Horse Trail in Kitchener. In addition, we anticipate starting a new project to create a pollinator demo space at Rockway gardens. Lastly, we intend to establish more acreage of meadow in parks. Last year 7 acres of meadow habitat was created.
In our ongoing efforts to ensure an environment that is ecologically sound and supportive of the health and well-being of its residents, the City of Kitchener currently engages in many initiatives which would not only be complementary to the goals of Bee City Canada but would also directly support the City of Kitchener’s requirements to being a Bee Friendly City.
These initiatives include but are not limited to:
• A comprehensive horticulture program that plants thousands of flowers in gardens, parks and city-owned properties across Kitchener;
• The planting of specific varieties of street tree species which grow flowers and support pollinating insects and bees;
• The retrofit and re-naturalization of stormwater features including waterways and stormwater ponds;
• A successful pollinator garden was built and established along the Iron Horse Trail (main transportation corridor) in 2016 as part of the Neighbourhood Strategy initiative.
• Connections to City initiatives (i.e., Love My Hood) which financially supports and encourages resident led projects including park naturalization and pollinator habitat creation.
• The City has recently partnered with Grand River Food Forests to create and establish ‘Food Fedges’ and ‘Food Forests’ which are planted to encourage food foraging for urban residents but also as strategic pollinator supporting plantings. There have been 15 of these sites established across Kitchener (more than 6000 square feet of pollinator habitat) with additional ones being planned for 2018.
• Kitchener’s Natural Areas Program (KNAP) which provides public education and engagement opportunities to 5000+ residents annually and hosts two major public education events – Earth Day (April) and Wonders of Nature (August). KNAP also partners with local organizations (i.e., Waterloo Region Nature) to promote public education and facilitate the stewardship of nature in our city; and
• The City of Kitchener, through KNAP develops and implements natural area restoration and park management plans including the intentional creation of pollinator meadow habitats. Two meadow habitats have already been established in Kitchener, one at Lakeside Park in 2016 and most recently in in Gzowski Park in 2017. These KNAP projects are funded through an existing capital funding account.