Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ontario's Pollinator Health Action Plan: Looking good.



We have now had the time to look over the recently released, Ontario Pollinator Health Action Plan and we like what we see.

This plan is part of the province's broader Pollinator Health Strategy (PHS), that was launched in November 2014. At the time, the Ontario government highlighted two aspirational targets:

  • To reduce overwinter mortality rates for managed honey bees to 15 per cent by 2020.
  • To achieve an 80 per cent reduction in the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 2017.

In 2016, a third aspirational target has been added:

To restore, enhance and protect one million acres of pollinator habitat in Ontario (timelines to be determined by the Habitat Committee).


The Ontario Pollinator Health Action Plan (OPHAP) is designed to help improve the health of all insect pollinators which supports a strong agri-food sector and a healthy environment.

The plan builds in actions, timelines and accountability. It is designed to be adaptive and can be adjusted as new, evidence-based research becomes available.

The plan welcomes the involvement and collaboration of organizations and groups. Our Hamilton Pollinator Paradise Project is proud to have been included in the list of stakeholders working for pollinator health!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Seasons Greetings! Upcoming Events.



Well, here we are, approaching the end of another awesome year of planting and promoting pollinator habitat and conservation.

We have enjoyed every moment of it! The enthusiasm that this project generates demonstrates that Hamiltonians really understand the importance of biodiversity and building habitat across the city.

We held many events, such as design workshops, plantings, plant sales, our annual forum, and more.

We partnered with many groups and organizations such as schools, faith communities, Parks and Recreation, CityHousing, and we plan to do even more of this in the new year.

In June, we launched the first ever, Hamilton Monarch Awards in partnership with a few other local groups, participated in Carolinian Canada's Restoring Resilience Conference in October, and were included in many publications and media.

Many of you certified your pollinator friendly garden with our free Certification Program, and received a free lawn sign that encourages others in the neighbourhood to view your garden as beneficial for nature (and maybe, do the same!). You can view our pollinator paradise map here.

Now, we are gearing up for another year of involving more people in building a pollinator corridor across Hamilton.

We already have a line up of upcoming events, starting in January with our bee-nest box building workshop, so please do check out our listings.

We are always interested in hearing from you about your pollinator garden experience, tips and tricks, concerns and so on, so please feel free to drop us a line or a photo! Until next year!


Friday, December 2, 2016

Including pollinator-friendly, native species plants in school gardens.

Central School, Hamilton.
As non profit groups, working towards the health of our environment and our community, we are delighted to learn about the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) Outdoor Manual to help guide schools in improving their outdoor spaces.

The importance of engaging children in and bringing children closer to the natural world cannot be over-stated.

Nature is health and well being, and connection to the outdoor world not only improves physical and mental strength, but also, nurtures the love of our fellow creatures and the wonder of the natural world itself.

Unfortunately, many of these small critters are in danger. Pollinator populations such as beneficial insects, solitary bees, butterflies and small birds are declining rapidly. The loss of habitat, the use of harmful pesticides, climate change are some reasons for this decline. But it turns out that urban centres can help towards this conservation problem in ways that have been overlooked. Planting native plant species in gardens across a city is of extreme help, and the beauty is, everyone can participate in this since pollinators do not require a lot of space to carry out their functions.

A schoolyard is a perfect environment in which to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. Children reap the benefits of observing the creatures the gardens will attract. Native plant species are also very low maintenance, once they are established and require far less water than traditional ornamental gardens that contribute very little towards pollinator food.

On looking over the current plant list in the Outdoor Manual, we've noted very few native plant species. As well, we have noticed that some plants on the list are also invasive plants (not native to the area) that cause harm to our local habitat by competing for resources and space.

As such, we've let the HWDSB folks know that amending this list so that the selections add both biodiversity and educational value to school sites would be a simple matter.

Not only are we and other local nature groups available to assist, but there are also many people (including a number of Board parents) in this community who have this expertise and who would be very happy to help with a suggested list of species to use.

There are numerous resources such as Peel Region's "Digging" manual and examples that showcase what gardening for nature looks like (for instance, Central School on Hunter Street is one excellent model).

We have urged them to plan the gardens to include large numbers of native plant species and contribute significantly to the wellbeing of pollinators. We've let them know that we are available to help.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When the bylaw officer comes calling: What makes a naturalized garden palatable?

Photo credit, Julie Sthalbaum.
What makes a pollinator friendly garden acceptable? That is, what will keep the bylaw officer away and the neighbours happy?

Recently, people have emailed us to say that their gardens are drawing unwanted attention--the grass is too long, there are weeds. One lady says that an order was left by a by-law officer claiming that under the By-law Section 3(1)(a)(c)(i) she had to remove all long grass and weeds from entire property and maintain to a maximum height not to exceed 21 cm (8 1/4 inches). The bylaw officer wrote that this should include the entire property, "Front, rear and side of property."

Dundas garden. Photo credit, Julie Sthalbaum.



As far as this local Dundas resident is concerned, her garden is flowers and grasses, but there were a few weeds that might have been on the bad weed list and she removed them. Apparently, the officer even took issue with Goldenrod!

We chatted with Tamara Reid, Supervisor for Municipal Law Enforcement at the City of Hamilton.

How do we make naturalized, pollinator-friendly gardens fit into a neighbourhood? That is, according to by-law, what constitutes a native plant/natural garden and what is just a garden that has been let go, of which the neighbours are justifiably upset about?

Demonstrating intention is key. "It is helpful to have even a hand-drawn image of what you are aiming for--what your garden is intended to look like," says Tamara. "You can show that to a by-law officer and that helps."

Tamara suggests having some visual demarcations like logs or rocks, different heights of grasses or plants just helps guide the eye and looks more like a planned garden. "The idea is to have boarders, again so the garden looks planned."

We contacted the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Agricultural Information Contact Centre. We were told that in fact, the Weed Control Act is in place to protect agricultural and horticultural operations from weeds. It does not apply to noxious weeds or weed seeds that are far enough away from any land used for agricultural or horticultural purposes so it wouldn’t apply in an urban area like the City of Hamilton. "It would be bylaws that need to change if bylaw officers are asking residents to remove goldenrod," the correspondent said.

We were also told that in 2015, nine weed species were removed from the noxious weed schedule of the Weed Control Act. Some of these species are considered a food source for pollinators, such as bees (e.g., wild carrot, goat's-beard, scotch thistle, nodding thistle, yellow rocket, and tuberous vetchling). These and other species that are being removed are no longer considered significant threats to agricultural or horticultural production and can be managed through modern management practices.

Goldenrod is not on the noxious weed list but can be a weed if it gets into cultivated fields and that is why we see it in the Ontario weeds gallery.

Now it's time to think about what action we can do as a community to change the bylaw and make it easier for people to plant native gardens!

Signage: We're Feeding Pollinators



Signs like our "We're Feeding Pollinators" do wonders. Many residents have told us that putting up our sign as part of our certification program has really helped in deterring complaints from neighbours who don't get it.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Diversity is Key: Protecting Our Native Bees and other Pollinators.

The key message we took away from our latest forum on helping native bees and other pollinators?

 Diversity is what matters: we need habitat diversity as well as maintaining bee diversity.

A trio of experts in their individual field of work informed the audience on exactly what the issues are and how we, as every day folk, can make a difference.

We kicked off the evening with Dr. Peter Kevan, Professor Emeritus at Guelph University. Kevan went into detail about why we need to be taking care of our native bee populations in the first place.

According to Kevan, in Canada, we don’t have a decline in honeybee population--or at least, not like what the US is experiencing! Instead, honeybees are essential because wild bees are being eliminated. Native bees are getting cut out of the picture for obvious reasons, including habitat lose. But we need pollinators in agriculture, so we buy honeybees.

What's more, wild bees increase production yield. “Botanically, this relationship is not fully understood,” Kevan said, about the benefits of bee diversity to crop yield. But it's a very important one. Delicious fruits like blueberries are better serviced by wild bees—they can take on 70 species of pollinating bees. The orchard bee is cold tolerant, forages widely and doesn’t sting. Bumblebees pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (Kevan pointed out that Canadians can be proud that we were one of the countries putting forward this bee technology).

What can we do to protect bees from the point of view of agriculture?
Kevan suggests we consider fields with windbreaks. In the field, practice low tillage and rotation, "everything that we can do to diversify the habitat." Make use of berms and hedges, conservation strips in fields and floral resources across the seasons. Remember that weeds are important resources.

In our city gardens, Kevan suggests that we can do our part for solitary bees by making sure to leave habitat such as twigs and bare ground for hole and ground nesters.

Biodiversity in Cities: Ecosystem functioning, and Green Infrastructure.

Central Park School, Hamilton. Photo Credit by Lubmila Shkoda.
Next up was the captivating Dr. Scott MacIvor, a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Toronto (Department of Biological Science and the Faculty of Landscape Architecture).
MacIvor shared with the audience that so much has been learned in the past 6 years; at least 6 papers are published daily on bees.

It was fascinating to hear that wild bees are generally happy, they can count to 4, and they are much more diverse that we thought. “Every female is her own queen,” MacIvor said. And with over 364 kinds of wild bees in our region, “Bees are important, bees are diverse and we know more about wild bees than anywhere else in the world.” That’s something to be proud of!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Protecting our Native Bees and other Pollinators: Forum is today.

We are excited to be hosting our annual forum: Protecting Our Native Bees and Other Pollinators: What we can do to help.

Our line up includes:

Peter Kevan, Professor Emeritus, Guelph University. Dr. Kevan's research focuses on community and applied ecology, pollination biology, native vegetation and insect fauna, conservation of beneficial insects, apiculture, plant breeding systems, foraging and perception by arthropods, insect thermoregulation, arctic ecology.

Scott MacIvor
Dr. Scott MacIvor is a post doctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Toronto in the Department of Biological Science and the Faculty of Landscape Architecture. He is interested in urban biodiversity (especially bees), ecosystem functioning, and green infrastructure.

Michelle Ordyniec has been involved with beekeeping for the last 4 years. She began her interest and work with honeybees while working at Weir’s Lane Lavender Farm. Through lots of beekeeping programs, classes, research, personal experience, and an extra dose of passion, she's become pretty knowledgable about bees (not limited to honeybees!) With the mentorship of other local beekeepers, she has worked with the ten-odd hives on the farm, as well as keeping honeybees at her home in Hamilton.

For free tickets, please click here.



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Restoring Resilience: Big Impacts Across Small Spaces Forum 2016

We are so excited to be participating in Carolinian Canada Coalition and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council's 2016 Forum, Restoring Resilience:Big Impacts Across Small Spaces Forum 2016.
From the event page:
“Restoring Resilience: Big Impacts Across Small Spaces” will focus on recovering ecosystem health at all scales, from backyards to landscapes, in the context of changing climate, biodiversity loss, invasive species, and the growing disconnect between society and nature. The conference will bring together 350-plus conservation practitioners and interested laypeople from across Ontario to connect with those working in the fields of invasive plants and ecosystem recovery, spreading the word on exciting new projects, innovations, and accomplishments. Building on the eloquent message of our keynote speaker, Doug Tallamy, in his book, “Bringing Nature Home,” the event will especially emphasize “the why and the how” of restoring native biodiversity and habitat in the cities, towns and settled landscapes of Ontario.
The Pollinator Paradise Project will be there to speak about the work we are doing to build a pollinator corridor across the city of Hamilton.
Lubmila Shkoda, photo credit.
Urban environments have the potential to support large numbers of pollinators.

The research is increasingly showing that residents in urban areas like Hamilton can play a major role in ensuring pollinators survive. Our project is an initiative that is based on this sort of research, and is designed to achieve high-priority species conservation.

According to the Urban Pollinators Project (Bristol University), half of Germany’s entire bee fauna have been found in Berlin, 35% of British hoverfly species were sampled in a single Leicester garden and honeybees produce more honey in urban Birmingham than in the surrounding countryside.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pollinators Need Your Voice: Tell the Province Your Greenbelt Includes Habitat.

The thing about pollinators is that they can't speak for themselves. If they could, they would tell you how much they appreciate habitat in which to feed, live and reproduce.

They would tell you too many of their numbers are dwindling, due to lose of habitat and other factors like pesticides and climate change.

These ethereal creatures, from whose labour we benefit from a thousand-fold, would tell you that they need what habitat is left to be protected. And now we have a chance to do just that!

Here's how:
Fortunately, the province of Ontario wants to hear from you how it can improve the Greenbelt. They are seeking your comments concerning proposed changes to the Greenbelt Plan (along with the 3 other land-use plans) up until October 31st.

Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, natural heritage/habitat, healthy local food, active outdoor recreation, and a thriving economy. At nearly two million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable.

Right now, the Greater Golden Horseshoe area is under extreme pressure from developers who want to take out land from the Greenbelt.


Friday, September 30, 2016

The Benefits of Fall Gardening

"The fall is the most important time of year in any garden," says Charlie Briggs, gardener at the Royal Botanical Garden (RBG).

 It can seem counter-intuitive, the fall being a beneficial season for gardening. We tend to focus on spring, with the sense of everything starting up. But in the fall, plants are getting ready to go dormant, "so you're not interrupting anything," Charlie says.

Charlie explains that the cool temperatures and additional moisture allows plants to get a head start on the following season.

On a fall day, you can put in hardy plants, perennial woody types and native plants like black-eyed Susans, echinacea, milkweed etc.

It's also the best possible time to divide and transplant seeds.
Collecting seeds from the garden is easy, sowing outside, literally letting mother nature do the work.

"Look for pods or seeds that have turned brown or yellow, and wait until the seed can drop on its own," says Charlie. "Leave some for the birds though."

 Be sure to make labels for the areas in garden or a map.

Charlie points to other advantages of fall gardening: with less vegetation, you can fill empty spaces in the garden and also, more space allows true form to emerge as you plan and plant.

Remember that native plants are needed for pollinators that overwinter so leave those stalks for the winter for these little critters to hibernate within. Leave the plants as they are,  all winter long and you can cut in the spring and leave on the ground, providing extra weeks for the insects to emerge.

Read more about fall gardening on our previous post.

Recommended reading:


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Protecting Our Native Bees and Other Pollinators: What we Can do to Help.

The evidence is clear that many native wild pollinators are declining. That wouldn’t be a big deal, if commercial honeybees could pick up the slack. They can’t. Managed honey bee colonies supplement the work of natural wild pollinators, not the other way around. In a study of 41 different crop systems worldwide, honeybees only increased yield in 14 percent of the crops. Who did all the pollination? Native bees and other insects. Gwen Pearson, Your worrying about the wrong bees.

All pollinators are in trouble, not just honeybees. And while honeybees get most of the credit, native bees and other pollinators are actually the workforce of the pollinating world, doing the bulk of the chores.

Bumblebee on nectaring on a scabious plant by Carmel Mothersill
According to Bee City Canada, bees are often considered to be the most important animal pollinator for a number of reasons, including that they are the only pollinator that rely solely on flowers for all their nutritional needs, obtaining their protein from pollen and carbohydrates from nectar.

Being fuzzy and electrostatically charged, makes bees particularly effective at carrying pollen.
Bee City Canada also points out that bees are flower-constant: they like to work one kind of flower at a time. So "a bee that has started to gather nectar from apple blossoms will continue to gather nectar from apple blossoms until that period of foraging  has ended," helping to ensure the cross-pollination of plants.

Writer, Gwen Pearson reports in 'Native Bees Increase Blueberry Crop Yields' (Wired, 2015) that research looking at the individual efficiency of different bee species found small, native bees were highly efficient pollinators; their visits resulting in nearly twice as many seeds as honey bees. "They also aren’t as wimpy as honey bees, which only like to forage in nice sunny weather," Pearson writes. From the research, Pearson quotes:
“A perfect bee would be super abundant, work under all weather conditions, and handle pollen efficiently. A perfect bee also doesn’t exist,” said Dr. Burrack. “We wondered if all these different bees, working together, can fill in the gaps and function as a perfect bee community.” Essentially, each bee species is complimentary.
Native bees deserve more of our attention. Thankfully, there is a lot we can do to help protect our native bees and other pollinators.

On Wednesday, November 2nd, join us to learn about the what native pollinators do for us, the challenges they face, including the harm honeybees can cause to native pollen bees in urban areas (including spreading disease and competing for limited resources) and how we can help by building a habitat corridor of native plants. We will also learn about the challenges of urban beekeeping.

Speaker include: Research, Scott MacIvor (University of Toronto).  Peter Kevan (University of Guelph, Environmental Biology). Local Hamilton Beekeeper, Michelle Ordyniec.

Wednesday, Nov. 2nd.
The Spectator Building
44 Frid St.
7-9pm

Get your FREE tickets here.

For more information, contact Beatrice at bekoko@environmenthamilton.org

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Taking Care of Your Fall Pollinator Garden

How do you take care of your pollinator garden in the fall? Here is some advice from local experts.
Master Gardener, Bev Wagar writes:
I don't do much in the fall. I leave all the stalks and all the seed-heads (except when they are pesky re-seeders) for the insects to nest in. The plant stalks and leaves fall down and help insulate the plants against the wild temperature swings we get with global warming. This is especially important when there is no snow cover.
Brenda Van Ryswyk has similar suggestions: "Do nothing!" this Natural Heritage Ecologist says.
She writes:
Just leave things be is the best thing to do. Birds love to eat the seeds through the winter. Some bees will overwinter as larva in the old plant stems. Sweep/rake your leaves into a pile and leave them be; it's great mulch and butterflies and bumblebees may overwinter in it.
At the very least do not “clean up” your garden too much. Pollinators need some of the things we may consider “messy”. Old stems for the solitary bees to nest in, dried flower heads with seeds for the birds to eat (Goldfinch and Dark-eyed Juncos visit my garden for seeds on the plants all winter long). 


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sting! Will planting pollinator-friendly gardens encourage this?

Urgh! It's late summer, you're out picnicking and the "bees" are getting into the food and trying to sting you too, right? So won't planting pollinator friendly flowers encourage them?

Yellow Jacket
But here's the thing: people often confuse wasps for bees. These "bees" that are bothering you are likely wasps such as yellow jackets (bright yellow with black stripes), hornets (black with white stripes), or paper wasps (brown, red or yellow with a skinny waist).

"Most stings around homes and playgrounds do not come from bees but are from wasps as they will build their nests in metal structures or around houses and then sting those who get close to their nest," says Brenda Van Ryswyk, Natural Heritage Ecologist with Conservation Halton.

Bee. Photo Credit: Glenn Barrett.
The bees we are trying to encourage in our gardens are native bees and they will not sting: often they can not sting.

Brenda assures us that solitary bees--which make up the majority of our native bees--are so small they cannot break our skin, so are not a concern.

"The exception is the bumblebee, it can sting, but will only do so if threatened," Brenda explains.

As well, if someone is keeping European honeybees nearby, they will likely visit your garden too, but again, these will only sting if threatened.

"The only concern comes if people are trying to capture or swat bees and the bee thinks its life is at risk," Brenda says.

What good are Wasps?

What good are wasps, you may ask? A lot. They are an important part of our ecosystems, serving beneficial ecological functions.

Many wasps and yellow jackets can be pollinators too, but some species are more scavengers than pollinators and some wasp species are important pest predators.

"It tends to be the non-native paper nest making yellow jackets or the eastern yellow jacket (also makes paper nests and is native) that are a stinging problem," Brenda says.

Brenda advises that to manage the non-native, paper nest making, yellow jackets and the eastern yellow jackets (also makes paper nests and is native) that are a stinging problem, prevention is the key. She suggests that in the early spring, place the fake paper nests around your house and the queen can be tricked to think it is already occupied and she will move elsewhere. Another suggestion is to get the queen pheromone traps for yellow jackets from the hardware store.

She advises that if you had a problem then plug up any holes that they used last year or may find attractive for nesting on, or catch nests early and remove them. If you have a problem one year make sure to seal the hole for the next year.

Brenda says she learned the following trick for bluebird houses:If it is an area not exposed to rain (under a roof overhang, or in a play structure); remove the nest then rub a bar of soap on the surface that they had attached the nest to and the soap will prevent them from attaching a nest to it again. It may need to be refreshed in the spring but should be effective all summer. Any bar soap should do as it is the slippery nature of the soap that stops them from attaching the nest to the surface.

More tips to avoid being stung:

If you have clover in the lawn do not go barefoot, you can be stung if you step on one without knowing.

The majority of stings come when you are harassing bees or approaching their home to close so be sure to stay away from hives.

Find more tips at the David Suzuki website here.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Active Senior: Planting a Pollinator Paradise at her Retirement Community.

Thanks to summer intern, Saige Patti for this blog post.

Inspired by the Urquhart Butterfly Garden in Dundas, Heather Ridge decided to start a pollinator garden of her own, near a pond in her retirement community of St. Elizabeth Village.

Armed with an encyclopedia of plants, Heather planted the garden in 2014 with her friend Sandy, who is a member of the horticultural society. WHICH ONE?  Since then, she has added many more plants, built two obelisk trellises and a bench, and decorated with other ornaments like birdhouses and birdbaths.

Now, the garden is flourishing with plants including phlox, maltese cross, coreopsis, butterfly bush, heather, lobelia, salvia, sundrops, yarrow, gayfeather, and geranium. “I even have a cactus!” Heather says. There are vegetables, herbs, and three trees including a magnolia tree which Heather finds “messy, but gorgeous.”

Heather used to grow roses on her horse farm. “I always had my farm looking nice, but I’ve never done anything this intense,” she explains. The retirement community supported Heather’s project by helping her pay for it. When she started, she was interested in attracting butterflies, but her main goal was to make something beautiful. Turtlehead, her favourite plant, is planted right by the bench so that people can see it when they are sitting down. “When these bud out they look like the heads of a turtle,” she explains. She likes the plant for its distinctness.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Woodlands Park Literacy Trail: Bloom where you're planted!

We're excited to be continuing our work with the City through Alex Moroz, Community Liaison Coordinator at Parks and Cemeteries--Public Works, to plant more pollinator paradise patches across Hamilton. For instance, we will be part of the great work going on at Woodlands Park, off Barton Street East--an area of the city that can use some tender loving care.

The project will clean up an old alley and create a new literacy trail extension in the park. As well our pollinator patches, the trail will get a makeover with new trees and gardens.

The PPP is proud to be also included in developing the content for panels describing the life cycle of a bumblebee!

As part of the city's goal to reduce poverty by increasing literacy resources, reading pods will be established to encourage children and families to sit and enjoy a book under a tree or surrounded by vegetation. There will also be solar powered lighting and a technology charging station.

With literacy and neighbourhood pride, by enhancing and beautifying the community, that old adage, "you bloom where you are planted" might have a chance at taking root.

Students in the Rotary Club of Hamilton’s Rotary Literacy Program, attending the launch! 
The project is funded through CN EcoConnexions ($25,000) and matched by Councillor Matthew Green ($25, 000 from area rating). Trees Canada is the other partner on this project.

Lucy Day Park: Make Over
We have also been planting a native plant garden at Lucy Day Park, also in the east end of Hamilton.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The rise of the pollinator-friendly front yard.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Photo credit: Vesna Stevens.
Dandelions poking out here and there on the neighbour's property? Wildflowers and milkweed shamelessly facing the street? Keep calm; it's a sign of the times. The reign of the manicured lawn is over; the rise of the nature-friendly front yard is upon us.

What was once considered unattractive scruff is gaining in appreciation for its untamed beauty and for the dinner it provides resident bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.

Undoubtedly, banning pesticides for cosmetic use has helped towards more relaxed attitudes but of greater significance is a growing awareness of the plight of pollinators.
Pollinators supply crucial ecological services but their numbers are in decline; their habitats have mostly disappeared. We have lost meadowlands, grasslands, marshlands suited to nesting sites and feeding and reproduction. Pesticides, climate change all factor in hugely.

Thankfully, urban environments are growing with the potential of supporting large numbers of pollinators.
According to the Urban Pollinators Project (Bristol University), half of Germany’s entire bee fauna have been found in Berlin, 35% of British hoverfly species were sampled in a single Leicester garden and honeybees produce more honey in urban Birmingham than in the surrounding countryside.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Lyn Hanna-Folkes (Monarch Awards' Judge): Concerning Gardening for Biodiversity

Lynn Hanna-Folkes
Lyn Hanna-Folkes was one of the three judges for the newly launched Monarch Award, an award to celebrate pollinator friendly, sustainable gardening in Hamilton. I caught up with her in this short Q and A to chat about the value of such an award for bringing awareness about biodiversity to local residents.

Beatrice (B): How long have you been involved in gardening for nature yourself? And what are some challenges people face with this type of gardening?

Lyn (L): All my life, I have been making natural style gardens, working on conservation issues, etc. We all know the general public lead very busy lives these days, so it is difficult for the average person to do the necessary research to educate themselves about a completely new gardening perspective. Therefore, it is a real benefit to have some incentive to change the way people think about the way they garden by way of the Monarch Awards.

After judging, I thought it was very encouraging to see many people keenly interested in this award and what it stands for. I do hope this contest will encourage many more residents to garden with nature in mind. The ultimate goal is to think about how we take care of our property because humans have a responsibility to care for the place that sustains them. Humans are but one part of nature's web and education concerning this has been my life's work.

B: Do you think more people are making connections about the big issues of our times?

L: In general yes, there are so many issues connecting humans to the health of the natural world; climate change; food sources & pollinator health, drinking water quality, energy uses, etc. But people often still see the "economy" as more important than the "environment." One goes in hand with the other though -- they are strongly connected. In Hamilton, the Greenbelt is gradually being chipped away in the name of 'development progress' or 'growth.' But when are we going to seriously think about whether our current ideas of progress & growth are making real positive changes for us in the future? We need the biodiversity of the Greenbelt to sustain ourselves. Making connections to health ties humans to everything in nature. I’ve worked with many elderly residents who use pesticides as their 'go to' measure for any type of weed. How do you make them understand that they'd have less contaminated drinking water if they didn't use pesticides so much?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Programming at the YMCA Summer Camps

Just a small portion of the seed balls that were made by the campers!
The Pollinator Paradise Project had a fun week bringing programming to Hamilton YMCA summer camps. We visited Benetto, Dr. Davey and Queen Victoria elementary schools, coming armed with activities and knowledge, aiming to educate the campers on local pollinators, and how they can get involved in helping protect them.

The campers, all very enthusiastic to play games and make crafts, were split into two groups to be rotated through the first two activities, which were making seed bombs, and a demonstration + game in the gym. The campers loved getting their hands dirty making the seed bombs, which contain the seeds of several species of plants--both native and pollinator friendly. 

One group commented that the clay used made their hands “silky smooth”, while others took full advantage of the opportunity to get dirty by getting clay all over their hands. 

In the gym at the second activity, campers were given cards with an animal, plant or pollinator on the front, and what that organism needed for their life -cycle on the back. They were then linked together using section of rope to demonstrate a food web, and show them how plants and animals are connected. We then removed the pollinators from the web, and saw how the web fell apart without pollinators. 

After the demonstration we played “pollinator tag”, which is a version of many campers' favourite game, “octopus”. The camper who was “it” would be our pollinator, and would tag the “flowers” to get their pollen. When the flowers were out, they became the wind and could also tag, but they had to remain in the same spot which they were tagged in. All the campers had a great time running around and pretending to be their favourite pollinator or flower! 

For the final activity, we brought the campers all back together again, but split them into teams for a few rounds of trivia. This involved spinning the trivia wheel (very popular!) to determine a category, and we would then ask a question about birds, butterflies, bees, plants or from the “mystery” category. Campers worked together in their teams to try to get the right answer to the questions in order to earn points. The competition got intense as each team tried to get the most points, but all campers played fairly and cooperated with each other. 

We certainly had a lot of fun, and we’re sure the campers did as well, as one claimed he “wants to come back to YMCA camp every year!”

Monday, July 11, 2016

First-ever Monarch Awards for the cultivation of pollinator-friendly, sustainable gardens: Winner announced!

Media Release
July 11, 2016


Hamilton-- First-ever Monarch Awards for the cultivation of pollinator-friendly, sustainable gardens: Winner announced!

Hamilton's first-ever Monarch Awards competition has a winner!  Kirkendall resident Glenn Barrett has received the 2016 Monarch Award recognizing gardens and gardeners in Hamilton for their contribution to a biodiverse, sustainable environment.

"Out of concern for declining insect populations, especially Monarch butterflies and bees, we decided to recognize people who garden sustainably, and create habitat in their yards for pollinator species and wildlife in general," says Bev Wagar, one of the organizers for this initiative. "We want to promote the validity of gardens that are created to be beautiful, functional and beneficial but fall under a non-traditional aesthetic." 

The organizing committee for the awards includes staff from the Pollinator Paradise Project (Environment Hamilton and Hamilton Naturalists' Club) along with volunteers from the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Crown Point Garden Club.
The idea for an “alternative” garden awards program has quickly gained momentum.

More than 50 residents submitted applications.

"We are thrilled by the number of applications submitted in this our first year," says Jen Baker, Coordinator for the Pollinator Paradise Project. "We plan to extend the invitation for applications beyond the range we set out at the start of the initiative. That is, although it's mostly volunteer powered, we want to include even more wards next year. The interest is there."  

Barrett and his partner Kim both have a deep awareness of local conservation issues--Barrett works for Environment Canada and Kim at Conservation Halton. "It’s fabulous that there is now an award to recognize that there are gardens pleasing to the eye and beneficial to nature. I hope it continues!" says Barrett.

Photo Credit: Glenn Barrett
The judging team included:  Sean James, owner of Fern Ridge Landscaping & Eco-consulting; Jodi Healy, Gardens Manager at Royal Botanical Gardens; and Master Gardener Lyn Hanna-Folkes, expert in public naturalization projects. The judges participated in evaluating the applications and visited the finalists' gardens.
Runners-up were Peter Queck (Kirkendall) and Amy Taylor (Crown Point). 

For a more detailed update please visit the Monarch Awards blog.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Beatrice Ekoko, Communications at PollinatorParadiseProject, Environment Hamilton
http://www.hamiltonpollinatorparadise.org/
905 549 0900

bekoko@environmenthamilton.org

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Joy of Gardening

Written by Saige Patti, Summer intern.

The Madills' front yard.
On a sunny afternoon, Norm and Loueen Madill's flower garden is buzzing with life.
There's trees such as Serviceberry, Lilac, and Ginkgo in the front yard; flowering cacti; vegetables; and nearly twenty varieties of hostas along the side of their house.

It wasn't always this way.
When the Madills moved into their Westdale home back in 1976, “The person who owned the house before us was a rose expert and a rose judge," Loueen explains, "there were 183 rose bushes on this property!”

 Opposed to the monotony of monoculture, the couple keeps a pollinator garden because they love flowering plants. Loueen says that she has always loved butterflies, and learning about which flowers will attract them to the property. Her favourite plant on the property is in the evening primrose family: "It’s a beautiful sunshine yellow!" she exclaims. “Tonight when the sun goes down you can come stand out here and watch the flower unfurl.”

Loueen explains that this flower is for night pollinators. Very prolific, the primrose started in the backyard but grows in a different spot each year; “It just comes up on it’s own. How it got to the front yard, I don’t know!” she laughs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Westmount Eco-Ninjas Fundraised for us!

Angela Dittrich is a Hamilton student and avid environmentalist. She is a member of Environment Hamilton's Youth Taking Root and the Westmount Eco-Ninjas. She graduated from Westmount this past June, and is starting her Bachelor's Degree at McMaster for Integrated Sciences this fall.

This wonderful youth helped organize a fundraiser (the Pollen Project) at her school for out Pollinator Paradise Project.


Here is what she writes:

This past April, Westmount's environment club (the Eco-Ninjas) teamed up with the Students Promoting Leadership Action Team (SPLAT) to raise awareness of pollinators in Hamilton, as the decline of pollinator populations is a major concern today.

Westmount's Pollen Project ran for two weeks as part of Westmount's Earth Day activities, collecting donations in the cafeteria from staff and students. Volunteers presented information about Pollinators Paradise Project as well as facts about the impacts of a declining pollinator population. Anyone who donated was given a paper bee or flower on which they could write their name. These flowers and bees were used to create a garden mural outside of the Learning Commons to represent the amount of support the Pollen Project had received.

Over 100 staff and students donated, and $123 was raised for Environment Hamilton's Pollinators Paradise Project. The Eco-Ninjas and SPLAT would like to thank the staff and students who donated, as well as Pollinators Paradise Project for bringing light to such an important topic and making a difference in Hamilton.

Lovely! Thanks Angela and the Eco Ninjas!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Unitarian Church Tour and Native Plants Sale.

Monday 27th June--
Thanks to Joanne Tunnicliffe (aka Mother Nature), Head Gardener at the First Unitarian Church for another tour of the grounds including the ever-expanding Carolingian forest and native plant gardens. Incredible accomplishment in under five years!

We had a great time and learned lots!



Thanks to Paul O'Hara of the newly opened Locke Street Native Plants.

Great to have had Matt Mills and partner Eva of Talondale farm for their wonderful selection of wild flowers and shrubs.







Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"We want to be planters when we grow up."


Bobolink, CityHousing.
It was a hot, hot Friday afternoon in June but the kids at Bobolink CityHousing were undaunted by the heat. They were excited by the prospect of planting a garden to attract butterflies, bees, birds and other beneficial insects with the Hamilton Pollinator Paradise Project. This is a project of Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Naturalist Club, with the goal of planting native species habitat across the city of Hamilton. "I've been gardening since I was two," said one particularly knowledgable nine year old. "My mum and I garden together." Another enthusiastic nine year old promised he would be sure to water the garden and keep a general eye out for it: "I'm going to be a planter when I grow up," he said. He eagerly pointed out his thriving vegetable garden plot on the same property. Even a four year old child helped put plants into soil. Taking breaks to sip on cool lemonade, the "planting pollinator paradise party" concluded with tasty pizza for all involved.

To date, the Pollinator Paradise Project has been engaging community members across the city in planting habitat and building a "pollinator corridor." It has around twenty five sites across the city and encourages residents to get involved by planting habitat on their own properties.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

We're celebrating pollinators and creating pollinator habitat by planting native species throughout the month of June.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hamilton--June 20th to 26th is Pollinator Week but the Hamilton Pollinator Paradise Project (PPP) is going full out and celebrating pollinators throughout the entire month.

A project of Environment Hamilton and Hamilton Naturalists' Club, the PPP is planting pollinator-friendly gardens and educating and raising awareness about the need to create habitat across our city for declining pollinator populations. Everyone is on board. Ward councillors ("Politicians for Pollinators") support the project and encourage their residents to plant for nature. A native plant garden is being planted on City Hall grounds at the Hunter Street entrance. Local food associated organizations such as the Victory Gardens and the McQuesten Urban Farm, as well as public parks that have community gardens close by like Victoria Park (Strathcona) will benefit from the project's native plant patches since more bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects means healthier and increased food production.

The PPP is actively engaging school children and youth in planting sites on school board property at Hess St. Elementary School, Bishop Ryan And Winston Churchill secondary schools. Places of worship such as the new Down Town Mosque saw dozens of mosque volunteers come out to help plant a garden on their property and plan to educate their members on why we need to plant with nature in mind.

A special award, called the Monarch Awards has been created by the project organizations and local community groups to honour those who are doing their part and planting habitat in their own yards (deadline for applications is June 19th), and the project offers a free certification program.

On Friday June 17th, the project is inviting media to Bobolink, CityHousing complex (at the end of Bobolink Road, across from Bruleville Park) for a festive planting and celebration of all things pollinators. Residents of the complex, including seniors and children, will help put plants in the ground. Pizza and light beverages will be offered. Event takes place from 4 to 6pm.

We look forward to your attendance. For all inquiries, please contact:
Jen Baker, Project Coordinator
TEL: (905) 523-3339   EMAIL: land@hamiltonnature.org


Friday, June 10, 2016


 We have to cancel tomorrow's Trees, Bees and Seeds Bus Tour due to calls for thunderstorms.

We were super excited and looking forward to the tour. 
We'll keep you posted when we reschedule.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Rethinking the Garden: Pollinators, Habitat and Your Mighty, Mighty Garden.

This piece is published in Hamilton Magazine: Spring 2016 page, 44.

Gardening is an expression of personal taste, and the garden, often considered a sanctuary—a space created to delight the self.

But with the decline of pollinators in our midst (bees, butterflies, small birds, beneficial insects), people are rethinking the garden and what it can do for the natural world.

With close to 75% of all flowering plants depending on these little critters to move pollen grains from plant to plant (not to mention, that one out of every 3 bites of food is pollinator-dependent), “beyond the personal landscape, a garden can make a bigger contribution,” says Barb McKean, Head of Education at the Royal Botanical Gardens. “We’re realizing what can happen when individual action--planting plants that support wildlife--becomes a collective action."

What happens when we flood out and the water has nowhere to go because we’ve paved everything? That collective contribution takes into account climate change and community resiliency in the face of extreme weather conditions.

Barb's garden
Barb explains that from a conservation point of view, it is not ideal to have islands of green—that’s restrictive in terms of the gene flow, causing problems for ecological integrity since there is no free exchange of movement of plants and animals. In a broader landscape, it becomes a real challenge to create these necessary corridors. When you get into city ravine systems that can function as corridors, like streams, that water still drains but it’s all buried beneath roads, so the bio-diversity doesn’t have green space to flow through.

With her own gorgeous, sustainable, rain garden, Barb practices what she preaches when she suggests piecing people’s properties together, to create stepping stones across the city to help species thrive.

“The more people doing it the more we can connect, the better for all of us,” Barb says. “So if you’ve got a piece of garden, no matter how small, you can tweak it or extend it to incorporate pollinator friendly plants.”

Hamilton Pollinators’ Paradise Project

Enter the Hamilton’s Pollinator Paradise Project (PPP). A project of local nonprofit groups, Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, the goal is to build a "pollinator highway" of native plants that will provide food and shelter for pollinators across the city of Hamilton.

“It’s a serious conservation issue that we can all tackle and get immediate impact,” says Jen Baker, the Project Coordinator.

PPP is currently working to get Hamilton to be a pollinator city (Toronto is already set to become Canada’s first official ‘Bee City’) and is promoting Politicians for Pollinators, encouraging city councilors to pledge to support pollinator conservation and habitat enhancement in their wards.

Since it’s launch two years ago, the PPP has being educating the public about the importance of protecting and planting native plant habitat, building bee boxes through workshops and planting native species sites. The PPP works with  volunteers at schools and community groups and the City of Hamilton’s Adopt-a-Park program.

The Pipeline Trail in Crown Point is an exemplary model of how it works. Residents in this area have created the Crown Point Garden Club and have been planting gardens along the trail. Bev Wagar is one such resident; with the help of PPP, this Organic Master Gardener is part of a group developing an alternative garden award--the Monarch Awards--for pollinator friendly, sustainable gardens. The Monarch Award is scheduled to be launched in late April. Residents from Hamilton's wards 1 to 4 are invited to apply.

Bev's Garden
Bev has also certified her own property though the PPP’s free certification program that celebrates those residential native plant gardens.

Her garden ripples with beautiful eye-pleasing wildflowers—and some non-native (non invasive) plants too.

The point is, “You don’t have to sacrifice your favourite plants in order to do good,” Bev says. “I love my Joe Pye Weed and Asters and Ironweed, but I wouldn't be without my Lupins and Lilies.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

There’s more to bees than just honey

This piece appeared in thespec.com on May 25th, June 2016

Honey — I could take it or leave it. But many of us love the sweet taste of that sticky mess honeybees make from the nectar they gather from flowers. And now that bees and other pollinators are on the decline, efforts across the world are stepping up to do something about it.

It's not just that we won't have honey anymore if we lose the honeybees; the concern is also that we will lose pollination — a far more serious issue, as it affects food production.

But here's the thing: if we lost our honeybees today, we would still have pollination.

In Ontario alone, there are over 400 species of wild bees — and surprise! They are pollinators too!

"Typically all agricultural pollination that involves bees assumes that it is done by honeybees," laments bee expert, Dr. Laurence Packer (Professor of Biology at York University). "In Britain, that is not the case because there are not enough hives to account for production."

While in North America, the fields are much larger, "We actually don't know how much other pollinators contribute to production." But because the livelihood of beekeepers depends on the honeybee, if colonies die off, it's a problem.

Here's the thing — according to Packer, honeybees are good at pollinating due to their sheer numbers. "Take 10,000 foraging bees. The overall effect is going to be positive even if they are each doing a bad job on a per visit basis. Individually, they are less effective than a lot of other pollinators/bees."

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Planting Sites Across the City


May is a crazy, busy time of the year, getting plants into the ground. We've planted at Hess St. School, Eva Rothwell, Land's Inlet, Paramedic's community garden and getting ready for planting at City Hall, Victoria Park and Ryan Bishop. This weekend, we'll be at the down town Mosque!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Catching up with Paul O’Hara: Trees as pollinator-friendly plants. Native Plant Nursery Launch.

Original Red Oak on West Avenue South. Photo Credit, Wendy Crawford.
The news continues to be depressing. Our fellow creatures have too little habitat to provide them adequate food and shelter. But when we plant native plants, we are helping immeasurably.

We talk a lot about planting wildflowers to attract insects, but aside from serving as air filters and shade providers (amongst a myriad of other services), trees also support beneficial critters.

I caught up with Paul O’Hara, local field botanist, landscape designer and native plant gardening expert, to chat about native trees as pollinators.
“Besides providing nesting and cover for wildlife, the flowers of trees also produce pollen and nectar for bees, beetles, butterflies and many other native insects. In fact, trees are the best pollinator plants in our neighbourhoods,” says Paul.

Quoting from a favourite of his, Doug Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home, Paul enthuses, “Oaks attract over 500 types of butterflies and moths.  They are king when it comes to feeding the most pollinators.  But all native trees are excellent pollinator plants.”  Check out a list of native trees and the number of butterflies and moths that they support at Doug Tallamy’s site here.

With seven trees in his modest front yard, Paul says, “There are opportunities for tree planting in every corner of the city, even the smallest of spaces.  It’s just a matter of selecting the right tree for the right space.”  

For the City of Hamilton, Paul recommends planting bur oak, red oak, sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, trembling aspen, basswood, hackberry, Kentucky coffee-tree, serviceberry, pagoda dogwood, red cedar, and white pine, to name a few.  All of these trees provide flowers and/or fruit, nesting and cover for insects, birds and other wildlife.

Locke Street Native Plants

Paul has been designing and building native plant gardens and naturalization projects as the owner/operator of Blue Oak Native Landscapes since 2004, but this year Paul has started a native plant nursery in his backyard called Locke Street Native Plants. (website under construction).

Paul doesn’t have enough room on his Hamilton property to grow trees, so Locke Street Native Plants will specialize in native pollinator perennials (wildflowers, grasses, and sedges) and shrubs that are custom grown from local seed sources.

His catalogue includes over 50 species from popular native perennials like  wild geranium, solomon’s seal, black-eyed susan, virginia mountain mint and butterfly milkweed to uncommon species like purple joe-pye weed, early goldenrod, spikenard, woodland sunflower and hoary vervain.  

Paul will be selling his wares at the Locke Street Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm starting June 11 and from his backyard at 113 Locke Street North (near Victoria Park) by appointment starting May 24th.  

Call (905) 540-9963 or email blueoak@sympatico.ca to book an appointment today.  


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tallgrass Prairie for Biodiversity

MacForest Tallgrass Prairie Restoration
Carolinian Canada describes “Tallgrass communities” – also known as tallgrass prairies and savannas – as natural grasslands with a great diversity of grasses, wildflowers and animal life.

The site defines prairie as a natural community that is dominated by grasses rather than by trees, as in a forest. Tallgrass prairies are dominated by fire adapted clumping grasses and depend on regular fires to maintain their unique floral composition. Growing with the grasses are many other kinds of non-grassy herbaceous plants known by the collective name of "forbs."

Tallgrass prairie species such as Big blue stem (Andropogon gerardi), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), and Showy tick trefoil (Desmodium canadense) are some of the common species of tallgrass prairie habitat in our area which provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife—key to maintaining the biodiversity of our native fauna.

Many prairie grasses and forbs are used by a variety of pollinators as egg laying and overwintering sites, and provide abundant seeds eaten by birds and other animals through the fall and winter. But tallgrass prairies are some of the most endangered ecological communities in Canada, with approximately 1 percent of their original extent remaining. Tallgrass Ontario reports that tallgrass communities once covered a significant part of southern Ontario's landscape. Owing to degradation and destruction through agriculture, urban development, invasion by non-native species, and mismanagement, less than 3 percent of the original extent remains in our region, with most remnants existing in small, isolated patches.

Sebastian
Sebastian Irazuzta is a 3rd year PhD student at McMaster University. His research focuses on the interaction between bees as pollinators and native plant species. He is particularly interested in how bees recolonize restored native tallgrass prairie habitat.

Sebastian explains that one reason we see so many bee species in tallgrass prairies is that the clumping grasses create a heterogeneous mix of exposed soil and dense vegetation, which are ideal for many ground nesting bee species. “The need for such habitat is a big concern since urban lawns and gardens may provide flowers but not bare ground nesting areas. Good bee habitat has to have both food sources and nesting sites” Sebastian explains.

At the McMaster forest where Sebastian carries out his research, they are working to restore natural habitat. McMaster University has owned a property on Lower Lions Club road for 50 years—a chunk of land originally a farm sold to developers, who sold it to Mac.  In the process developers had scraped a lot of topsoil off: “Now we have a very flat field of mostly clay, which hold water in the spring and then bakes hard in the summer sun. This is not conducive to growing much,” Sebastian says.

To help ameliorate the soil, they have been experimenting with bio-char because as Sebastian points out, “charcoal mixed into the soil increases the surface area for microbes to live on, retains moisture, and is beneficial for native plants species because carbon holds on to a lot of nutrients.” Tallgrass prairie plants transform the soil; over time the plants themselves will change the acidity and composition of the soil. These grasses are deep-rooted (up to 5 meters) and able to access a lot of water from deep down. As these deep roots die they add organic matter and break up the soil, thus reducing its density and making it easier for new roots and other organisms to penetrate. The situation with tallgrass prairie ecosystems is a “blessing and curse,” Sebastian says. “One of the reasons we have very little tallgrass in Ontario is that settlers quickly realized these areas were very rich and easy to plow under to produce food!” As a consequence, most tallgrass prairies were quickly transformed into farmland.

At the 115 acre property known as McMaster forest, Drs. Dudley and Harvey and their graduate students are re-establishing a complex tallgrass prairie on 10 acres along the southern end of the property.  A mix of 42 species of grasses and forbs, selected for their resistance to deer and tolerance to clay were seeded in 2014.  “At the start you couldn’t see across the property for the dense stand of Buckthorn, which is invasive and prevents other things from growing,” Sebastian says. “Invasive are takers—they don’t provide an optimal food source, nor do they provide habitat for local species.” This non-native invasive species along with a few non-native grasses took over open fields at Mac forest and created an ecologically poor environment.

Back in 2013 lots of volunteers helped with the buckthorn removal – a task that took all year.  With the guidance of the Conservation Authority, they did a controlled burn of many large Buckthorn piles. Tallgrass prairie plants are adapted to fire. Fire gives them a fighting chance because the non-native and often more aggressive, invasive species can not tolerate fire and will be killed off, leaving the fire adapted species to flourish. “We found that our seed mix did much better than the non-native plants that germinated within the burn areas,” Sebastian says.

Along with the Mac Forest, other efforts to restore more of this ecosystem in the Hamilton area are underway. The Hamilton Conservation Authority this year did a second controlled burn of the old gravel pit off Paddy Green Rd. This area has previously been planted with tallgrass prairie grasses and will regenerate with more vigor this summer. Organizations such as The Ontario Tallgrass Prairie and Savanna Association coordinate and support all groups interested in restoring grasslands. Many private land owners are also beginning to see the benefits of gardening with native tallgrass prairie species, and nurseries such as the St. William’s Nursery specialize in locally sourced native species and can provide a wide range of native seeds and potted plants for urban gardening. Currently they have contracts to plant tallgrass prairie habitat along highway lands.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Project Update: Pollinator Paradise Sites

Eva Rothwell Centre
We are excited to be working with new partners to create more pollinator-attracting sites and expand the pollinator corridor across the City of Hamilton.


Some of our partners include City Housing (we have two locations) and the Eva Rothwell Centre.


City Housing
We will be planting a pollinator patch at City Hall (Hunter St. site) and are thrilled to have the support of Councillors A. Johnson, Matt Green, Sam Merulla and Jason Farr, where we’ve been planting in their wards (1-4). 


We're looking forward to partnering with Winston Churchill Secondary School, Bishop Ryan Secondary School and Hess St. School to plant on school property.

We're also gearing up to plant at the Down Town Mosque, Paramedic Community Garden, and we will be planting a new site (Park Row) with our friends at the Crown Point Garden Club.