Pollinators are a vital part of our city. Bees, butterflies and birds are partners and allies in making our city a thriving place for everybody. New communities, like Chestermere, take time and intentionality to create habitat for beneficial insects. These pollinators play an important role in everything that grows, like fruit trees and berry bushes; from the smallest little flowers to the largest tree. Our city grows as we care for our pollinators.
Chestermere is Western Canada’s first Bee City and has now been joined by many other municipalities who see the value in protecting pollinators. Together we are exploring ways to make our city a friendly place for our most important tiny pollinating neighbours.
We can support our pollinators and help them continue to make Chestermere the kind of flourishing city we all hope for. Here are ten ways you can help:
• Set out a little dish of water for bees. Pollinators need water and you might be surprised who will visit your pollinator watering hole. The internet has lots of great ideas to make your watering station helpful to bees.
• Turn off outdoor lights at night. Nocturnal pollinators work just as hard while we sleep, and too many lights affect their ability to work.
• Talk to a local beekeeper, they are happy to answer your questions. Chestermere has a few beekeepers who help keep our bee populations healthy. Every winter many beekeepers experience loss of their bees, but together we can learn of ways to make sure our city is always buzzing. Encourage them along, it’s not easy work, but it is rewarding.
• Experiment with gardening and plant something new. Pollinators love variety and the more you plant, the happier they’ll be. Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to give them more food through the different seasons.
• Learn to love insects. We may have childhood fears of spiders that we carry into adulthood, but spiders are harmless and help eat unwanted insects. Our fears sometimes cloud our judgement and drive us to create sterile gardens that would be happier to host helpful insects. A buzzing garden is a happy garden.
• Limit or eliminate pesticides. Spraying pesticides kills insects. Even the most selective spraying can be carried back to a beehive and affect bees. Be kind because pollinators need the help of human friends.
• Read and learn. The Chestermere Library has dozens of books on bees and gardening. The more you know, the more you care.
• Keep cats inside. Did you know that house cats kill an estimated 100 million songbirds in Canada every year? They are the leading cause of death for birds who are a vital part of our natural world. We can save birds by being responsible pet owners.
• Make your garden an oasis for you and your family. Gardens are a gift. A place to relax, re-energize, and find your peace. It doesn’t take a lot to plant a tree or start a planter box. Enjoy the journey and create something special in your yard this year.
• Visit the Chestermere Bee City page to learn more about the ways that our city supports pollinators: https://www.chestermere.ca/662/Bee-City
We have pollinators to thank for nearly every plant we eat or enjoy. When we see our city as a habitat for bees and birds worth protecting, we begin to see the value in everything, and everyone, we meet. What will you grow this year?