With bees and butterflies facing extinction around the world, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is calling for the creation of a national pollinator recovery strategy – an action plan that would establish habitat restoration projects throughout the country’s parks, right-of-ways and other green spaces.
“Plants rely on pollinators for their succession – that’s how plants are fertilized in order to sustain growth,” said Jeff Fleischer, manager of Agricultural Environmental Services with Rocky View County (RVC). “There’s been a lot of talk – a lot of buzz – about pollinators for the last few years, but we’ve always known that pollinators are important.”
As agriculture plays a significant role in the municipality’s economy, Fleischer said RVC is well-aware of the value of providing welcoming habitats to bees and butterflies – and has made efforts to pass this message along to local producers.
The County offers an ALUS program that provides incentives to area farmers and ranchers to increase the pollinator habitats established on their land, he said, and gives them the tools and training to do so through pollinator workshops and information sessions hosted by the municipality throughout the last five years.
“We’ve looked at how to get people interested in what plant species are good for their property, we’ve gone into building bee boxes for people to help with native bees and what they can do to help protect them,” he said.
The programs have seen “tremendous” community support, he said – noting that this year’s newest offering, the bee box workshop, required the County to close registration due to increased demand.
“We were overfull,” he said. “So, that’s one workshop that we’re going to try and host a couple of them next year, because there’s obviously a lot of interest in that.”
While Fleischer said he couldn’t speak directly to the proposal put forward by CWF, he said he believes a national approach to pollinator recovery would be a “great idea.”
“We have a lot of open space in the county, and I know there’s a lot of pollinators that utilize that space,” he said. “We have been in discussions with other internal groups here to increase that, and what we can do to maybe add some pollinator habitat on these open spaces.”
CWF is currently asking Canadians to sign a petition to the federal environment minister proposing the development of an action plan to address concerns surrounding the protection of pollinators across the country. For more information, visit banwithaplan.org
“We know we need them and they’re very important,” Fleischer said.
“Raising awareness is something we’re actively trying to do, and we’re hoping to help out wherever we can.”