Greater Sudbury marks Pollinator Week
Let us all raise a toast to the humble honeybee.
On Monday, Mayor Brian Bigger kicked off Pollinator Week in Greater Sudbury by making an official proclamation and adding native wildflowers to the pollinator garden at the Twin Forks community garden.
“I want to thank the Greater Sudbury Pollinator Garden Project for highlighting the importance of pollinator gardens, which create habitat for pollinators, including butterflies, bees and birds” Bigger said in a release. “I encourage citizens across our community to consider planting pollinator gardens to support healthy ecosystems, prevent soil erosion, increase carbon sequestration and create natural spaces that have a positive effect on our mental health.”
Rachelle Niemela, the project co-lead, said the group is hoping the example being set by the mayor will encourage Sudburians to do more to benefit pollinating insects.
“Pollinators are an important part of ecosystems for so many reasons,” she said.
Niemela noted that replacing lawn areas and annual flower beds with native wildflowers, or even just allowing those areas to grow more naturally, greatly improves the chances that pollinating insects will thrive.
Carrie Regenstreif, the other co-lead, works with Sudbury Shared Harvest, a non-profit that encourages community food production. She said pollinators are crucial to the food chain.
“This isn’t just about attracting pretty butterflies,” she added. “It has been estimated that one in three bites of food you take depends on a pollinating insect.”
Launched in 2021, Regenstreif said the Greater Sudbury Pollinator Garden Project relies on volunteers like Niemela, who has logged countless hours doing research and developing information on pollinator plants and gardens for the Sudbury Community Garden Network.
Niemela is currently taking Pollinator Canada’s stewardship certification course. She plans to add additional information to the website in the near future.
“People often contact us wanting a simple answer to the question, how do I start a pollinator garden? We’re working on ways to answer those questions simply, but it is a work in progress,” she explained.
The website includes information on how to start a pollinator garden and how to create a garden in small spaces; a native plant list for the Greater Sudbury area; and photos of local gardens and plants.
Regenstreif added that one of the easiest and most important things people can do is ask local greenhouses and garden stores to stock more native plants that attract pollinators.
“It’s great to see more interest in this recently from members of the public, but there is not a great variety of native plants available locally to fill the need,” she commented.
Regenstreif and Niemela hope more people will get on the map by submitting info on their gardens to sudburycommunitygardens.ca. They are currently hosting a contest to encourage people to share photos of their pollinator gardens.
“It isn’t a beauty contest, though,” Niemela said. “We’ll put all the entries in a draw for the prizes.”
Prizes include flower pots decorated by students from Ecole secondaire Hanmer.
For more information, please visit sudburycommunitygardens.ca/pollinators.
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