Bee City Committee member and food security program coordinator with YCS, Joanna Hurst, stands in the garden with some pollinator-friendly sunflowers. Photo submitted

District of Clearwater to become Bee City

Lending a hand to the pollinators

The District of Clearwater (DOC) is focusing on attracting a certain demographic to town and making things more cozy for the residents within that group who are already here.

No one need worry about fighting over real estate, however, because these residents are hive-minded and tend to set up their own lodgings.

“The Clearwater Bee Club and the Yellowhead Community Services (YCS) Food Security Program sent a delegation to the mayor and council to invite them to apply to become a Bee City through Bee City Canada,” said Joanna Hurst, Bee city Committee member and food security program coordinator with YCS.

“The Bee City initiative is part of a North American movement to support pollinator protection and Bee City communities support collaboration as well as establish and maintain healthy pollinator habitat within the municipality or First Nation’s boundaries.”

Hurst said pollinator numbers around the world are declining at an alarming rate and local beekeepers have also noticed the negative affects of pesticide use on their hives.

“If you talk to any beekeeper, they will tell you the many challenges that their hives face, and that major hive loss is unfortunately a common occurrence,” she added.

“Pollinators are a vital part of our food supply with one in every three bites of food we eat courtesy of pollinators and 90 per cent of flowering plants rely on insect pollination to reproduce; anything that we can do to reduce the pressures on our pollinators will help.”

Right now there are 79 Bee Cities in the United States, 23 in Canada, including one in Kamloops, which was the first Bee City in BC and there are also Bee Schools, Bee Campuses, Bee Businesses and even a Bee Faith Community.

“A Bee City is wonderful opportunity for communities to foster land stewardship and inspire other communities to do the same,” Hurst said.

“We are very lucky to live in an area with abundant natural beauty and wildlife and I think we would all like to keep it that way.”

Leslie Groulx, chief administrative officer for the DOC, said the district is already working on ways to attract bees and make the town more bee friendly in general.

Different approaches to the planting done in local parks are already being planned with bees in mind and newsletter articles on how residents can be more bee friendly are being drafted.

“The District of Clearwater is committed to creating Bee pollinating habitats by supporting community and school gardens through assisting with watering, providing some staff and contractor time to upkeep school gardens during the summer months when school is closed,” said Groulx.

“We’ll also set policy to ensure selection of pollinator friendly plants including native trees, shrubs, and grasses for our community park and encourage community and local gardeners to plant herbs and vegetables that are pollinators.”

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

The DOC will also organize an annual garden tour including both flowers and vegetables through the Community Recreation and Healthy Living program as well as make sure any waterways within parks and boulevard areas have a buffer that isn’t mowed to increase naturalization and to protect the water.

The town will also adopt a “pesticide free” policy for district properties and encourage community members to abide by the same.

“I am very excited about this initiative – bees are so important to our food security,” said Groulx.

“I personally already have a bee friendly backyard garden with a combination of bee pollinator herbs, flowers and vegetables.”

Community members can support this initiative by preserving or creating healthy pollinator habitats on their properties—more information on how to do this will be offered at Seedy Saturday on April 6 at the Clearwater Ski Hill.

For more information about the Bee City initiative go to beecitycanada.org



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