June 18, 2019

Come to the garden June 19: Make a bee box, take photos, plant something pollinators will love

This is National Pollinator Week, the perfect time to learn about these critters' vital role in healthy ecosystems
UCalgary’s Pollinator Celebration on June 19 shares strategies to protect pollinators and promote biodiversity.

UCalgary’s Pollinator Celebration shares strategies to protect pollinators and promote biodiversity.

Sarah Johnson

At the University of Calgary, pollinators really are the bee’s knees.

To mark National Pollinator Week (June 17 to 23), UCalgary is hosting a Pollinator Celebration on June 19 to share strategies to protect pollinators and promote biodiversity and co-existence in the community.

A pollinator is an animal that visits flowers and is engaged in pollination — a vital process that creates healthy habitats by moving pollen from one flower to another. Though we often think of pollinators like bees and butterflies, there are many others including flies, beetles, moths and hummingbirds. In particular, bees hold a special importance because of their value to agriculture.

“Many native bee species in Alberta are declining due to human behaviours,” says Dr. Paul Galpern, PhD, associate professor, ecology and evolutionary biology, Faculty of Science. “This is especially concerning since approximately 90 per cent of all flowering plants can’t reproduce without the help of pollinators, and plant-pollinator interactions play a significant role in maintaining many terrestrial ecosystems.”

Galpern adds that a main threat to pollinators in Alberta is likely due to habitat loss, "although in this province we are not immune to the threats native bees face globally such as pesticides, climate change, and the transfer of diseases and parasites from honey bees." 

Pollination Celebration on campus

A Pollinator Celebration will be held on June 19 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the university’s Campus Community Garden (west of Lot 49, near Cascade Hall) and is open to all students, faculty, staff and community members.

Participants can join in a number of activities including making a bee box to provide a habitat for native bees, planting a variety of pollinator plants, viewing a sample of UCalgary’s digital bee collection and participating in a BioBlitz activity where attendees can take photos of bees, plants or other animals.

“At UCalgary, we work to support the inclusion of native species such as pollinators on campus,” says Amanda Mosca, sustainability engagement co-ordinator, Office of Sustainability. “We’re hoping our Pollinator Celebration will inspire the campus community and Calgarians to understand what they can do to protect pollinators.”

UCalgary recently launched its new digital collection of native Albertan bee species, which is available to researchers and bee lovers around the world. Learn more about UCalgary research into how the decline of species like bees could affect our food and our daily lives. 

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to become a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability.