The Pollinator Project
Bees and butterflies have been disappearing by the millions. The university has decided to do something about it. In the summer of 2016 we began to build our pollinator program, including a pollinator garden and bee boxes.
All plants were donated from a variety of garden centres such as Mckenzie Seeds, Rekker's, Vandermeet Nursery, and Veseys. Our bee boxes were set up to house bee colonies that have been growing in the Windfield Farm's barn walls. According to apiarist consultation, the estimated populations of bees that were re-homed in Spring 2016 was 200,000 (three hives).
Our pollinator garden was planted and managed according to the eligibility criteria for certification through the Canadian Wildlife Federation. It includes standing water features, resting stones throughout, and log borders for winter hibernation. There is no use of non- organic pesticides and water conservation practices are in effect.
The garden includes a combination of native and non-native shrubs, perennials, annuals, flowering bulbs and milkweed. It includes vegetables like peppers and tomatoes. It has also has herbs such as sage, mint and lavender. The garden is home to perennials such as asters, black-eyed susans, hostas, mums and wildflowers. It contains both common and butterfly milkweed.
Our goal for the Pollinator project is not only help provide a place for pollinators to visit, but also for you to visit the university. We hope to design an outdoor classroom. The class will included workshops on gardening and bee management for students, staff and community members. Due to the successful growing season this year, we also hope to expand the garden and start our own seed library soon.
Fun pollinator facts
- Native bees and European Honeybees do the majority of pollinating, but butterflies, ants, beetles, moths, hummingbirds and bats are also considered pollinators.
- All bee species have different tongue lengths that adapt to different flowers.
- Different-coloured flowers will attract different kinds of pollinators. Bees often prefer blue and purple-coloured flowers, and hummingbirds enjoy colours like red and pink, while butterflies like bright yellows.
- A flower's fragrance also attracts pollinators, especially night pollinators such as bats and moths.