UBC hosts pollinator picnic in Kelowna

The bee ambassador program creates a buzz about the nectar trail

Leafcutters are part of the third largest bee family, Megachilidae, along with the “super pollinators” of fruit trees, mason bees. Photo by Bob Lalonde.

There is plenty of buzz around Kelowna’s bee ambassador program as more than 250 Kelowna residents have planted bee-friendly gardens this spring.

“They join an additional 100 families, schools and businesses who registered last year, bringing the program’s numbers up to 350 bee-friendly gardens in the community,” Nancy Holmes, UBC professor said.

“These amazing citizens, gardeners and bee lovers are leading the way to preserving pollinator habitats and conserving our essential insects,” Holmes said. “We invite them to attend, to meet each other and to be celebrated at a fun, casual event at Kelowna’s Public Art Pollinator Pasture.”

Related: Kelowna mead maker bringing back taste of the past

Holmes, who teaches in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, is part of the Border Free Bees research project. The initiative, between UBC and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, is a public art enterprise with the goal of raising awareness of the plight of wild pollinators, empowering communities to find solutions for habitat loss and to transform under-utilized urban sites into aesthetically pleasing and scientifically viable pollinator pastures.

The Brent’s Grist Mill Heritage Park is one such place, and is now Kelowna’s Public Art Pollinator Pasture. The Pollinator Picnic takes place at the Grist Mill, and the public is welcome to bring a lunch, a blanket and drop in between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be music, art activities and games. Participants can also pick up a package of bee-friendly seeds for planting this fall.

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

Brent’s Grist Mill Park is located at 2136 Leckie Place. People with mobility issues can park on site, while others can park along Leckie Road.

The Bee Ambassadors program is funded in part by a Go Wild Community Grant through the World Wildlife Fund Canada and Border Free Bees.

For information, contact Nancy Holmes at nancy.holmes@ubc.ca or visit borderfreebees.com.

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