GUEST COLUMN: Bee City Canada Leader Outlines the Challenges, Opportunities for Saving Pollinators

An image of our latest bulletin, mailed as hard copy and posted online Jan. 10-11, 2019.

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS, John Devine and M. Samuel Anderson — Here directly below is the link to the PDF document of the latest news bulletin of Awakening News, featuring an article written by Shelly Candel of Bee City Canada. By clicking this link, you can view both sides of the bulletin and download it to print copies of your own to share with family, friends, co-workers and place copies in public venues. Those who download it for printing are encouraged to print both pages of the bulletin on the front and back of one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.

AWAK JAN 2019 BEE CITY NEWS BULLETINAWAK JAN 2019 BEE CITY NEWS BULLETIN

Another view of the image of our latest bulletin.

The same article shown on the front of the bulletin is here below:

By Shelly Candel
Bee City Canada

Pollinators are on everyone’s minds these days. We’ve learned that bees are dying across the world, and although most of us aren’t exactly sure what pollination is all about, who the pollinators are, how honey bees make honey or what exactly pollen and nectar are, what we do seem to know is that we have to do something to save them or we could be in trouble. Big trouble.

Back in the summer of 2015, I happened to visit Ashland, Oregon and learned that Ashland was designated as a Bee City, part of the Bee City USA initiative. I became interested in the bees several years before when I ran a farmers market and got firsthand information from a local beekeeper on what colony collapse was all about. Honey bees are the “canary in the coal mine” and their sudden deaths, an indication that the honey bees are sick, is a warning that our food system is in jeopardy of collapsing along with our entire ecosystem unless we decide to take action to reverse this alarming trend.

Our future is at stake. Our children and grandchildren are counting on us to do the right thing.

Like so many other people around the world, I felt something deep inside of me indicating that I had to do something, so I got in touch with Phyllis Stiles. the founder and director of Bee City USA. From
her, I learned about the program, thought it was brilliant and asked, “Is there a Bee City in Canada?”

The answer at that time was NO, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. Three and a half years later, there are now 23 Bee Cities across Canada, including Toronto, the 4th largest city in North America. Furthermore, there are now 18 Bee Schools (from nursery school to high school), four Bee Campuses, including the most influential agricultural university in Canada, the University of Guelph; 11 Bee Businesses, including the Calgary Zoo; and even a Bee Church.

Fifty-six Bee City Communities have signed a resolution declaring publicly that pollinators are important to our ecosystem. These resolutions are signed by the mayor, CEO, principal or chancellor, and the resolution means that action will be taken to protect pollinators. Each community under the Bee City Canada effort has filled out an application carefully outlining their plans for the upcoming year. They must create and enhance pollinator-friendly habitat, educate the public on the importance of pollinators and explain what each person can do to protect them.

My personal favourite is to ensure that each year there is a celebration of some kind, preferably during National Pollinator Week, which takes place on the third week of June. For all that the pollinators do for us, it’s about time we showed them a little love.

Therefore, in 2019 we are expecting at least another 2030 communities to join the Bee City Family, including the nations’ capital, Ottawa! That will be a remarkable breakthrough. Let’s ‘bee’ the change we want to see in the world. If your gut is telling you that you need to take action, please check us out at beecitycanada.org. If you live in the states, go to beecityusa.org.

THE ‘BUZZ’ IN THE U.S.

Meanwhile, Beaumont, Texas has made headlines for its efforts to educate residents to prevent the collapse of bee colonies. Accordingly, Bee City USA committee chair Elizabeth Waddill said this designation is especially appropriate for Beaumont because of its location along two migratory flyways that bring bird species which feed on seeds, nuts and fruits from native plants—many of which are made possible by bees and other pollinators.