Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrating Pollinators with the Ontario Nature Youth Council

Volunteers. Photo credit, Daynan Lepore
During Pollinator Week, we joined forces with the Ontario Nature Youth Council to celebrate pollinators and all the work they do for we insatiable humans.
Donate A Native Plant: Pollinator Appreciation Day was an opportunity for humans to give back to these mighty little critters.

Community members were invited to bring a native species plant from their gardens, or to simply join us in planting habitat at the Land’s Inlet site in the North End of the city.

The Land's Inlet Nature site is an initiative of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club that for the last few years has been naturalizing this inner city public space and creating a paradise of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and other native species plants to attract and provide food and shelter for pollinators, as well as a beautiful green space for local residents.

Over 250 native plants, most of which were supplied by the Youth Council were put into the ground that evening. The youth will be helping to maintain the site in years to come. They plan to deepen their involvement concerning pollinator protection, building on the tremendous work they have previously done on the issue--work such as their postcard campaign to the Premier back in 2014, requesting a ban on neonicotinoid use, that has resulted in very impactful outcomes.
The group has an initiative called Special Spaces. For the last five years, to celebrate Earth Month, Ontario Nature’s Youth Council has organized conservation projects that are held simultaneously across the province. The events highlight the importance of taking care of nature in our own neighbourhood.
 Conservation efforts in these local  Special Spaces include tree plantings, litter removal, trail maintenance and shoreline clean-ups. Around thirty Special Spaces events across Southern Ontario. Our plant-in at Land’s Inlet is considered one such event.

Daynan Lepore, coordinator for the group spoke with us about the Youth Council’s other projects.

With the Youth Council members, (consisting of about 70 teenagers, most of them heads of their high school eco-teams), "We all brainstorm around what we are interested," says Lepore,a youth himself. Over the course of two main meetings, usually in Toronto and at a YMCA camp, "we come up with a blueprint of involvement."

With the issue of bee decline, conserving bees was made a big theme on social media: "We could play off that with slogans, use internet memes and run a great campaigns that resonated with kids," Lepore continues. With planting, "When the kids go to plant, they will be telling their friends what they did and so on, influencing their peers."

Future Ontario Nature projects. 

This September, at the yearly youth retreat, the group will be adding a new campaign to their list--climate change. "We are going to do write to our members of parliament that's our big focus," Lepore says. They will also be running more Special Spaces events, raise awareness  around pipelines, and Ontario Greenbelt expansion.


We are looking forward to continue to working with this amazing group!

Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Hamilton Community Foundation for their continued funding support over the last few years.

Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Pollinator Week!

Sweat Bee on Calendula. Photo by Theresa McCuaig.
It's Pollinator Week (June 19-25th)! If you are wondering what you can do to to celebrate and support pollinators, we at the Pollinator Paradise Project have a few suggestions!

1. Apply for the Monarch Awards 2017. If you garden for nature, you will be happy to know that the deadline for applications has been extended until the 25th so don't be shy, go apply!
2. June 22nd, celebrate pollinators with us by donating a native plant species and help us fill out habitat at one of our sites (Land's Inlet). It's a party! Check out this link for more details.
3.If you are brand new to the idea of helping our pollinators (and remember, they help US more than we could ever help them), commit to planting some native species plants in your garden. Start by planting the basics and check out this great resource.
4. Learn about native bees (there are close to 400 in Ontario alone, and most of them are solitary and don't stink!). Bees of Toronto is a great resource.
5. Educate yourself! Check out the latest in pollinator health in Canada.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Monarch Awards 2017: Extended Deadline

Christine's Garden.
Many of you have told us that you would like more time for your flowers to show before applying to the Monarch Awards 2017. Others say they don't feel their gardens are up to snuff; they will try for the following year. We say, Go for it today! Don't be shy! The Monarch Awards welcomes all gardeners who garden for nature so please don't worry if your garden is not "perfect." Nature doesn't!

To this end, the team has decided to extend the deadline a week more. The new deadline to apply is June 25th. Come on! You can do it. And remember, everyone gets a free, We are Feeding Pollinators sign.

Christine Filinski is one gardener who is applying to the awards. Here is what she says about her garden:

Over the years of living in our home we have worked towards making the garden a fine balance of area to feed our family and area to feed pollinators. The front yard has become a mash up of both. We have come to notice that our yard stands out from all the others and may be seen as quite wild to a lot of people. We allow typical "weeds" to grow such as goldenrod, bugle weed and milkweed because the pollinators adore them.  We see many species of bees, butterflies and birds in our yard. The birds enjoy the variety of bugs and seeds they find as well as all the hiding spots the plants provide.  In the future I hope to add a second bird bath, a second bee house and to find some native shade plants that are pollinator friendly.

You see, a garden is never "done" as we all know, and we can always find ways to improve and enhance our spot of earth. So take a chance and apply today! #MonarchAwards2017 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Donate A Native Plant: Pollinator Appreciation Day!

Feed Pollinators! Donate a Native Plant. By Saige Patti, summer intern.

Calling all gardeners and nature lovers! National Pollinator Week (June 19-25th) is a time to honour the bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other beneficial insects that play an essential role in our natural ecosystems (most of which would collapse without them!).

On June 22nd, the Hamilton Pollinator Paradise Project invites you to Donate A Native Plant: Pollinator Appreciation Day. Celebrate our pollinators, by giving your native species plants a new home at Land’s Inlet Nature Garden Site.

Located in Hamilton’s North End, Land’s Inlet Nature Project is part of an initiative working to naturalize this inner city public space, and create a pollinator paradise of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and other native species plants to attract and provide food and shelter for pollinators.

This site is in need of native species plants to fill it in further, and keep pollinators happy! In donating and helping us plant pollinator-friendly habitat, we will all enjoy more birds, butterflies and other living things, cooling shade in the summer, better air to breathe and less noise from traffic.