Bee City Canada Pollinator Summit

On September 25, 2018 Bee City Canada held their first Pollinator Summit at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge, Ontario. This report provides a summary of the event that emphasized participation and collaboration.

Workshop participants included representatives from 19 current and future Ontario Bee Cities, four Bee Campuses including Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Guelph, Fleming College, and Western University. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry attended, along with several organizations including Wildlife Preservation Canada, Pollinator Partnership, the Ontario Greenbelt Foundation, and Hydro One.

The purpose of the workshop was to bring together Bee City Canada affiliates, volunteers, and supporters, to network, share knowledge, and celebrate successes. The success of the bee city movement is a result of the commitment and action taken by all of these passionate people who continue to support, protect, and raise awareness for pollinators.

The morning began with an introduction from OMAFRA facilitator Helen Scutt, opening remarks by Bee City Canada Director Shelly Candel, and an important opening welcome from Anishinaabe cultural consultant, Kim Wheatley. Kim also provided closing remarks reminding us to ensure inclusivity in every effort, inviting people to the table whose voices are largely unheard.

Included in the morning agenda, several Ontario Bee Cities shared their journeys and successful bee city initiatives including Niagara Falls, the Township of King, and the City of Guelph. As the first bee city in Canada, the City of Toronto highlighted their bee city program and Pollinator Protection Strategy. Prior to the morning break, the Provincial Apiary Specialist with OMAFRA and the Vice President of the Ontario Bee Keepers Association addressed summit attendees (see Appendix A for speaker details).

Breakout Session Topics

 

  • Habitat
  • Education & Communication
  • Community Engagement
  • Celebrating Pollinators
  • Sourcing Materials (plants, seeds)
  • Collaboration & Partnerships
  • What can Bee City Canada do for you?

Two keynote speakers from the University of Guelph immediately followed the morning break to inspire attendees for the afternoon breakout sessions. The breakout sessions were designed with participation and collaboration in mind and attendees participated in discussions and visioning at four of eight sessions of their choosing (Box 1). Sessions were primarily facilitated by Bee City Canada Board of Directors and the summit organizing team. In twenty minute intervals, participants moved between topics and shared thoughts, ideas, successes, challenges, and ways forward for bee city affiliates.

Moving Forward – Next Steps

It is important to maintain the momentum of the Bee City movement across the country. In September 2018 there are 22 bee cities, 21 bee schools, and 11 bee businesses and this number is growing. The Bee City movement is an opportunity to take action in a meaningful way to support and protect pollinators and be part of a larger community of practice that is concerned with creating positive and lasting change in the world.

Key Messages

 

 Knowledge sharing between and beyond bee cities.

Education is critical to move forward and address misconceptions.

Collaboration & partnerships are vital.

Leverage existing programs and technology for messaging.

Tap into local/regional/national leadership and expertise.

Simple and consistent messages.

Be mindful of inclusivity.

Celebrating Bee Cities Kitchener and Waterloo!

Celebrating Bee Cities Kitchener and Waterloo!

Shelly Candel addresses community members during the Bee City recognition ceremony at the 2018 Kitchener-Waterloo Earth Day celebration.

Despite the chill in the air, there was a great turnout for the 2018 Kitchener-Waterloo Earth Day celebration held at Kiwanis Park in Kitchener on April 28th, 2018.

The event offered many things to interest nature lovers. Fans of birds witnessed some impressive bird of prey presentations put on by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy. The Waterloo Horticultural Society, RARE Reserve, Waterloo Region Nature and Bee City Kitchener teams were also on hand, organizing fun and educational activities, such as bird box building and native shrub and tree planting.

Left: The Canadian Raptor Conservancy’s birds of prey were a star attraction at the Earth Day celebration
Right: A young visitor playing the seed matching game at the Kitchener Bee City display table.

What was most exciting for Bee City Canada however, was that we had the honour of recognizing two new Bee Cities, Kitchener and Waterloo! During  a brief ceremony attended by members of each community, Bee City Canada’s founder Shelly Candel offered special thanks to Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky for their support and leadership in protecting pollinators! She also recognized municipal champions Joshua Shea, Natural Areas Coordinator for Kitchener and Peggy Stevens, Environmental Stewardship Coordinator for Waterloo, as well as the working group champions who volunteer their time and passion to help protect pollinators in their respective communities.

Left to right: Waterloo Bee City Working Group member Gary Brenner, Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky, Bee City Canada Director Shelly Candel, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.

This was Bee City Kitchener’s first public event and the booth included a seed matching game, educational information and some beautiful photos of native pollinators and plants! The City of Kitchener became Ontario’s 7th Bee City and is undertaking some exciting bee-friendly initiatives all around the city, including a 2018 project that will see eight hectares of meadow habitat restored and enhanced.

Left to right: Nicola Thomas, Kim Fellows, Nancy Dykstra and Kathy Waybrant, four of our Bee City Kitchener Working Group Members.

The City of Waterloo is the 8th Bee City in Ontario and supports native pollinators through community-based stewardship activities and environmental education. Plans for 2018 include new naturalization efforts and ongoing large scale plantings on municipal property. Learn more by visiting Waterloo’s Bee City web page.

Join the Bee City family!  Learn about our programs from cities, schools, les entreprises ou les organisations.

West Queen West Becomes First Bee City Business in Canada

West Queen West Becomes First Bee City Business in Canada

Bee City Canada is very excited to announce the launch of the Bee City Business program along with a partnership with the West Queen West Business Improvement Association (WQW BIA), the first participant in this new initiative!

The Bee City Business program opens the door to businesses and non-profit organizations wishing to join the growing Bee City family. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for businesses to show that they are socially responsible and committed to taking actions that will help our troubled pollinators.

West Queen West recently introduced their “Pollinator Paradise” project, creating Toronto’s first bee-friendly streetscape. The strip of Queen street between Bathurst Street and Gladstone Avenue has been lined with large, artfully decorated, concrete planters seeded with a mix of pollinator, edible, and medicinal plants. Several bee hotels have also been installed on 10-foot-high birch poles that have been set in the planters. Work for this project was done with the help of Restorative Landscapes and has received positive reviews from area residents, visitors, local businesses and, quite certainly, Toronto’s pollinators!

Rob Sysak, the Executive Director of the WQW BIA explained why the project became a priority for this community.

“The bee population loss is such a big problem and sometimes it seems overwhelming. People ask themselves; what can I do, I’m just one person? Well, WQW believe that even though we are only a 2-kilometre strip in a large city, if we take care of our area and become a “Pollinator’s Paradise”, we will not only help pollinators but also become an example to others.”

Planter and bee hotel. Photo by Nick Savva.

Shelly Candel, the founder of Bee City Canada, agrees and points to this initiative as an example of how businesses can act to help our troubled pollinators. “There’s an opportunity for businesses to take a leadership role to make things better for pollinators. The WQW BIA has found a clever way to do this. They’ve beautified their neighbourhood, making it more attractive to visitors and residents, while also helping pollinators in the city. Visitors to the area love how great everything looks, the business owners fully support the initiative and the bees are happy. It’s truly a win-win scenario!”

Planters and seating at the corner of Queen and Tecumseth are inviting for area visitors, the local community and pollinators. Photo by Nick Savva.

Saving the Bees at Stirling Public School

Saving the Bees at Stirling Public School

Stirling Public School’s super exciting actions to save the bees.

They recently become a Bee City Canada School and their garden is already growing!

Mrs. Mossman-Cross' Grade 1 Class

At Fun Fairs selling Wildflower Seed Paper and A. Vogel Echinacea seeds, using QR codes to explain pollinator decline, Stirling has shown what a lot of love and collective effort can achieve. Seeds are the very life that bees bring us, they keep ecologies healthy and diverse.

The seed paper allows them to make their pollinator garden even more beautiful and it is perfect for sharing with others who want to help feed pollinators too.

As you can see, the students in Miss Lee-Cook’s class make habitat creation for bees and butterflies a super fun event.

Makes you want to jump out and plant a garden!

Many hands dug into the earth, and together this delightful community of students and teachers created a place of beauty and bounty.

We are so thrilled that Mrs. Mossman-Cross and her class connected us with their fellow nature lovers at Stirling P.S., we can’t wait to meet them all!

Meeting the pollinators in their garden is going to be great too! Hello Bees!

 

River of Pollinators Art and Poetry Exhibition

River of Pollinators Art and Poetry Exhibition

Call for art and poetry submissions from students for a juried art exhibition.

Submissions: September 7th, 2016 to June 11th, 2017
Exhibition: June 18th to 24th, 2017

Students of all ages are invited to submit poetry, prose and work in painting, drawing, sculpture, digital art, photography, or new media that responds to, intersects with, or is enriched by a love of Pollinators and Water.

Are you drawn to channel your love of Nature into art? Share this with us for our online gallery!

If your work represents a love of Nature we would love to share it, submissions are not limited to a focus on Pollinators and Water, everything is connected!

There will be a juried selection for special mention with prizes and a show of all the work in Toronto during Pollinator Week, June 18th-24th, 2017.

Email submissions to [email protected]