Contributed

International bee symposium to be held in Kelowna

The Border Free Bees Symposium runs from Oct. 12 to 14

An international symposium on bees—with topics ranging from their health to their importance—takes place in Kelowna this month.

The Border Free Bees Symposium is attracting local, national and international collaborators as well as volunteers, partners and bee supporters. The symposium runs from October 12 to 14 at a number of local venues. Organizer Nancy Holmes encourages the public to get involved.

Holmes, an associate professor at UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, is a representative of Border Free Bees, which has projects in the lower mainland, the United States and Mexico.

“There are many opportunities to get involved including talks, an interactive map project, and informal dinner, a field trip, or enjoying short, vivid ‘Buzz Talks’ by our collaborating artists and international partners,” says Holmes. “There will also be opportunities to brainstorm about ways to help pollinators thrive in our communities.”

RELATED: Vernon beekeeper concerned after spike of deaths in bee population

The public events begin with a free talk by Mace Vaughan of the renowned insect conservation organization, The Xerces Society. Vaughan, who supervises the largest pollinator conservation team in the US, will give a talk called Bring Back the Pollinators: What You Need to Know to Save Native Bees Oct. 12 at the Laurel Packinghouse, 1304 Ellis St., at 7 p.m.

“The incredible enthusiasm of the Kelowna community made the Okanagan a natural choice for this symposium,” says Holmes. “We have started many projects here and we want the momentum to continue. We are inviting people to participate in planning the next steps.”

The symposium continues throughout the weekend with talks, workshops and field trips with scientists, artists and international partners. A banquet takes place Saturday, Oct. 13 and will feature a keynote talk by Victoria Wojcik, the Canadian Research Director of the Pollinator Partnership, a North American organization devoted to the protection and promotion of pollinators. Tickets are $50 or $40 for seniors and students.

RELATED: Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

The weekend wraps up with a plant rescue field trip; participants will retrieve plants from land slated for development and replant them at Kelowna’s Pollinator Pasture. Information about this, or other symposium events, can be found at borderfreebees.com/border-free-bees-symposium.

The Symposium is supported by UBC, the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada and the Kelowna Museums Society. Some events have a small fee to cover costs. People can get more information at info@borderfreebees.com or nancy.holmes@ubc.ca.


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