Did you know any Canadian city can be an official Bee City?
I quizzed Shelly Candel, director of Bee City Canada to get the buzz:
What is a Bee City?
A Bee City formally declares that it will conserve the places that pollinators already call home. It commits to planting more habitat in public places — municipal grounds, parks, ravines and river banks. It values habitat creation and conservation. It encourages residents to plant pollinator gardens. It celebrates citizens' efforts to share their love for all pollinator species.
What are the benefits?
Becoming a Bee City sends a powerful message that pollinators are important. Together, municipalities and residents can play a crucial role in reversing the alarming rate of their decline. Over time, Bee Cities become more beautiful with diverse native plants — flowers, shrubs and trees. Bee Cities are in bloom from early spring to late fall to provide food for thousands of pollinator species — bees, butterflies, other insects and birds.
Save the date: The third week in June is International Pollinator week!
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How can my city become a Bee City?
Step 1: Build a team. Contact movers and shakers — local master gardeners, beekeepers, teachers, non-profit groups, birders and community garden clubs.
Step 2: Find a city council champion. (Lindsay: Read How to write a letter to your mayor.)
Step 3: Fill out this application. Work with city staff to write up your resolution.
Step 4: Present and adopt the resolution before city council, have the mayor sign it and become a Bee City!
Toronto, with 44 city councillors, completed these steps in three months.
Can schools or universities take part?
How many Bee Cities in Canada?
Bee City Canada started in spring, 2016. Toronto, Ont. and Chestermere, Alta. were our first. By summer's end, we expect at least four more, including Kamloops, B.C. Sister organization Bee City USA has 36 and counting!
Will you take steps to have yours become a Bee City? What's your city already doing to help pollinators?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green