Pollinator pathways could save the planet and help build community

Sunset, a South Vancouver neighbourhood, is trying to promote gardens that bring more pollinators

Judy Dean-Clasen photo via Flickr.
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By Lauren Gargiulo

With a decrease in pollinators around the world, the Sunset community wants to create a greener, bee-friendly neighbourhood by implementing the Sunset Pollinator Pathway Project.

The pathway project involves volunteers planting more pollinator-friendly gardens in their yards to create a pathway between the parks in the area. They hope to provide more shelter and food, giving pollinators a reason to fly further away from the parks and support an increase in population.

Pollinators on the decline

Due to growing cities, use of pesticides and the spread of diseases, pollinators have been on the decline and yet they are essential to our survival. They pollinate our plants, providing us with fruit, nuts, flowers and honey.

Angela Crampton, a Sunset resident and organizer of the Sunset Pollinator Pathway Project, encouraged anyone who has space in their own yard to consider leaving a patch of their garden to grow wild, which attracts more pollinators.

“People are really unaware of how urban areas foster such biodiversity,” said Andony Melathopoulos, Oregon State University’s pollinator health extensions specialist and host of PolliNation Podcast.

The goal of the Sunset Pollinator Pathway Project is to connect the three main parks in the Sunset neighbourhood; Sunset Park, MacDonald Park and Memorial South Park, by providing more plants in and between those parks that can become a full-season habitat for native pollinators.

“It’s a bit of a balance between the active parks and maintenance and being realistic,” Crampton said.

Support from the city granted

Getting permission for a community garden from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is a slow process, but Crampton said they have a lot of support as the Sunset neighbourhood and the parks board share an interest in increasing biodiversity in parks.

“There’s a lot of effort to encourage people to plant more pollinator-friendly plants,” said Scott Pearce of GardenWorks in Burnaby. GardenWorks is a store that sells plants and supplies for gardeners. They also supply a list of pollinator-friendly plants on their website for bees, ladybugs, butterflies and hummingbirds.

“Twenty-five years ago, people would ask if a plant attracted bees, and if you said yes they wouldn’t want it and now it’s the opposite,” Pearce said.

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