In Speech, ‘Bee City Canada’ Director Explains Bee Cities, as Orillia, Severn Prepare to Join Program

St. Catharines, Ontario is among Canada's Bee Cities. The list of such cities is growing and is soon expected to include Orillia and nearby Severn Township. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Shelly Candel, Bee City Canada)

Addressing the Fish & Game Conservation Club, Shelly Candel covers the substance and purpose of Bee Cities Movement at this critical ecological juncture

VERSION No. 1, By Awakening Staff

ORILLIA, Ontario—Bee City Canada Director Shelly Candel’s speech to the Orillia Fish and Game Conservation Club on Feb. 28th—beyond describing the sheer importance of Bee Cities and what their goals are—marked a turning point for the growth of the Bee City program in Canada.

The happy development among Bee Cities advocates is that two more municipalities appear slated to become the newest Bee Cities in Ontario, the most populous of Canada’s provinces.

In Orillia, the word among municipal officials and local activists, as of this writing, indicates that the city’s “Bee” designation is on track and is a virtual certainty. Furthermore, correspondence received by Awakening News has largely confirmed this designation for nearby Severn Township as well.

Orillia City Council member Jay Fallis (left to right) meets Feb. 28 with Bee City Canada Director Shelly Candel, native plants expert Pamela Meacher and Awakening News Associate Editor John Devine. (Photo: AWAKENING NEWS)

This is happening as people in Canada and U.S. join hands to preserve bees (and other pollinators) in an age when widespread chemical usage and other factors are understood to have brought about the dramatic collapse of bee colonies—ultimately threatening the human food supply. This is an issue virtually all citizens of any persuasion can agree upon for unified action.

In her remarks to the Fish and Game Club, Shelly noted that some of the key factors impacting Bee colonies are:

  • The use of sterile landscapes “like green grass, industrial agriculture and mono crops (one crop),” which do not support or sustain pollinators;
  • The overall loss of biodiversity, including “species of plants, animals and insects [which] are disappearing daily . . .”
  • And, among other things, “fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides,” many of which go hand-in-hand with industrial agriculture.

Shelly also told a capacity audience for the Club’s meeting that Bee City Canada hit the ground running exactly three years ago, in March 2016 and was registered as a charity in early 2017.

Modeled after Bee City USA—where cities such as Beaumont, Texas have made headlines, including in Awakening News (click this link)—the program, as Shelly explained to the Club, is designed to “promote healthy, sustainable habitats for communities of pollinators.”

Importantly, she said there were 23 Bee Cities in Canada (as of the date of her speech). She also listed 19 Bee Schools, five Bee Campuses, and 13 Bee Businesses. Furthermore, T’it’q’et First Nations is also part of the Bee City program in Canada. A proud Ontarian Bee City is St. Catharines, located in the Niagara region.

“There is hope. Action matters,” Shelly also told the Club, referencing a Power Point presentation. “It’s up to each of us to make the change we want.”

People of course can have their city, school or business recognized by Bee City Canada and join the Bee City Family; furthermore, as Shelly told the Club, all interested persons are encouraged to:

  • “Plant a garden with lots of native plants [with a variety of] colours and shapes, blooming from early spring to late fall. Don’t forget to put some water in your garden . . . the pollinators get thirsty.”
  • “SOIL IS EVERYTHING: It provides everything the plant needs . . . meaning lots of microbes . . . full of life . . . organic matter . . . the microbes love carbon.”
  • And, as Shelly summarised, “Give your farmers a hug,” while eating real food “that comes from our mother earth” by enjoying the produce of local farmer’s markets and knowing who grows your food.

The plans of Orillia and Severn to join the Bee Cities movement arose amid the advocacy and networking efforts of Shelly, other citizen activists and the Awakening News.

The requirements for any city, school, campus, church etc. to receive a “Bee” designation are pretty straightforward. Those interested are encouraged to contact Shelly at: (647) 402-0133 or email: shelly@beecitycanada.org