More Pollinators On Campus?

Monday, July 29, 2013

A honey bee faces off against a spray bottle

It seems that every second or third article that comes my way on Facebook or Reddit is somehow related to the death of a bunch of bees, the lack of Monarch butterflies, and the implications of fewer pollinators in the environment. As a science student who took several ecology courses, I am very aware of the implications of having fewer pollinators. I mean if I could boil it down into a concise series of events it would go something like this....
  • Bees and wild pollinators start dying for some reason
  • No more pollinators means no more pollination
  • Fewer plants get pollinated and so less fruit is produced
  • With less food comes sky-rocketing food prices
  • Sometime shortly there after Armageddon ensues
There are a lot of theories that have been going around about why there are so many bees and butterflies dying. I recall not even a year or two ago we though the answer might be cell towers or fungus. Today the prevailing wisdom says it is overuse of pesticides. In any event, it sucks when something like this happens and you can't really do much about it.

SO.... this past week we started converting some of our mobile community garden plots at the University of Ottawa into mini wild pollinator gardens (see photos below). The hope is that with these little pollinator hot spots on campus, we might be able to offer some refuge to our winged friends.

Sure it's not much but maybe next year we could create even more of these pollinator gardens and help increase the number of pollinators in the area. I know this doesn't stop the number mass bee-deaths being caused by pesticides, but creating more habitats is one of the solutions to giving wild pollinators a fighting chance.

~ jON - campus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo

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