bee boxes outside Bow Valley College
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Bow Valley College gets Bee Campus certification

Bow Valley College is Canada's newest Bee Campus.

This certification by Bee City Canada recognizes colleges, universities, and other institutions that are committed to helping pollinators. We are the third Bee Campus in Alberta and the 16th in Canada.

Since 2006, bee populations have drastically declined due to the presence of pesticides and insecticides, disease, habitat loss, and climate change. In particular, native bees are in serious decline and many are at a point of extinction. Alberta has over 300 species of native bees, all of which are vital for pollination. Note, honeybees are not native to Alberta and are regulated like livestock under the Alberta Bee Act.

Urban organizations are particularly well-positioned to increase pollinator populations as cities have fewer pesticides and an abundance of flowering plants. Bow Valley College’s downtown campus is uniquely placed to support urban biodiversity due to our location close to the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers.

Over the summer, the Campus Services team planted a pollinator garden on the South Campus fourth floor terrace. Native plants have been on the terrace since South Campus opened, but after consulting with students and local experts, we replaced many of the plants that were not thriving with more colourful plants to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies (and encourage students to use the space).

We also installed temporary native bee nesting boxes. These boxes are like bird houses – they provide shelter to animals already in the environment. The intention is to support bees that are seeking shelter in spring. Note, these boxes have been removed for the fall, as bees will be moving into hibernation in October.

Curious to learn more? In spring 2020 and 2021, we hosted information sessions by the Alberta Native Bee Council for the campus community and we plan to offer this session again in 2022. To know how you can support pollinators in your own backyard, please see the Alberta Native Bee Council website.

Questions? Please contact Amy Spark at aspark@bowvalleycollege.ca.

The installation of the native bee nesting boxes is part of the Outdoor Classroom for Integrated Learning project. This project is made possible by the generous support of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

 


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