Pollinator Garden Project

Background:

In the past several years, the world has noticed a decline of pollinators, in particular honeybees, and the subsequent risk this poses to the maintenance of the ecosystem services they provide. Their work is necessary for the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species.  However, disease, parasites, flowerless landscapes, pesticides and monocultures are all playing a part in the decline of the bees and other pollinators. Year over year, beekeepers are experiencing significant winter losses, with the 2019 winter being especially difficult. Approximately 60% of bees (50-60,000 hives) were lost last winter as indicated by the Alberta Beekeepers Commission.

Project Summary:

Even though the decline of pollinators is a large scale problem, The Fairview Agricultural Society’s small contribution can play an important role in the solution. We would like to bring greater awareness to the plight of the honey bee and other pollinators by creating a pollinator garden. This garden will support bees and other native pollinators through the establishment of plants naturally found in Alberta. An array of vegetation native to the area will provide a nutritious food source, and serve as a more organic, semi-natural habitat for nesting areas for the various pollinators. Ultimately, our garden will bring awareness to the global problem of pollinators declining, provide education to our region about the importance of honey bees and other pollinators, and engage our community in awareness creation, preventative measures, and positive action.

 

The Fairview Ag Society has obtained the use of 250 Square Meters of green grass space located on the Cummings Lake Trail. The trail system is 11 kilometres of paved and gravel walking trails connecting the Town of Fairview, the Fairview Golf Course and Cummings Lake. The pathways are highly utilized by the residents, and the garden will be situated in a location easily accessible to those on the trail or from town. The design of the garden will feature a pollinator hotel and regionally-native plants such as prairie crocus, three-flowered avens, beaked hazelnut, goldenrods, and asters.  After the garden has become established, minimal watering and weed control will be needed, as the plants will be adapted to the precipitation and climate of the area. This is the beauty of such a garden!

Project Benefits of our Proposed Pollinator Garden:

  • Bringing awareness to the global problem of pollinator decline and providing information to our region about the importance of the pollinators and their habitat.
  •  Offering an educational site for elementary school children. In preliminary conversations with the Public and Catholic schools, they were very interested in utilizing the garden space for different aspects of grades 4 and 5 curriculums.
  • Partnership development with the National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) located in Beaverlodge, Alberta. The NBDC is the first comprehensive laboratory in Canada to provide a full array of diagnostic services for bee pathogens. Our garden has the potential to  provide research opportunities for visiting summer students at the Centre
  • Establishing a partnership with NAIT’s Centre for Boreal Research, Peace River, Alberta. The Centre is a leader in applied research centre relating to forest and peatland reclamation in Alberta’s boreal forest region. Their educational outreach department is very interested in assisting us in presenting workshops/sessions in the community/area related to native plants and their importance. There is also the opportunity to partner with CBR to propagate seedlings from locally-sourced seeds for use in the garden.
  • We will continue to form partnerships with local businesses and organizations to assist with educating the community and greater region on the importance of pollinators, native species of flowering plants, and pesticide contamination. This could include the Continuing Education department of Grande Prairie Regional College’s Fairview Campus with course offerings and with our local greenhouses in providing product conducive for residential gardens.
  • We will become the “Pollinator Friendly Community of the North”.
  • The Fairview Ag Society has obtained the use of 250 Square Meters of green grass space located on the Cummings Lake Trail. The trail system is 11 kilometres of paved and gravel walking trails connecting the Town of Fairview, the Fairview Golf Course and Cummings Lake. The pathways are highly utilized by the residents, and the garden will be situated in a location easily accessible to those on the trail or from town. The design of the garden will feature a pollinator hotel and regionally-native plants such as prairie crocus, three-flowered avens, beaked hazelnut, goldenrods, and asters.  After the garden has become established, minimal watering and weed control will be needed, as the plants will be adapted to the precipitation and climate of the area. This is the beauty of such a garden!

Map of the Pollinator Garden

Examples of Pollinator Hotels