Friday, April 10, 2009

City of Guelph plans world's first large "pollination park"

The world's first large-scale "pollination park" is a step closer to reality and will be on the agenda during a Pollination Symposium to be held April 18 at the Delta Hotel and Conference Centre in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

The event will feature experts from Canada and the United States speaking on a variety of topics, including the importance of pollination, challenges facing the honey bee industry, and how to keep “good bugs” happy using native plants.

The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will raise funds to establish pollinator habitat at the new Eastview Pollination Park, to be built on a former Guelph landfill site. The City of Guelph is scheduled to begin construction of trails and sports fields and a demonstration plot will be planted on the site this summer.

Pollination Guelph, a not-for-profit group formed this year, is working with the city to design habitat for pollinators including birds and insects, said Karen Landman, a member of the group’s board of directors and a professor in the department of environmental design and rural development at the University of Guelph.

Scientists estimate that pollinators provide one out of every three bites of food on our plates and that three out of four flowering plants require animal pollinators to set seeds and fruit. But pollinator populations have declined in recent years, she said.

Landman added the goal of the project isn't just to provide a habitat for pollinators; it's also to foster research and education programs that encourage people to help – by demonstrating the use and maintenance of pollinator-friendly plants, for example.
Speakers and topics scheduled for the symposium include:

• Ontario Beekeepers' Association, "Problems Facing the Honeybee Industry in Ontario"
• Cory Sheffield, York University, "The Bees of Canada"
• Rufus McIsaacs, Michigan State University, "Keeping Good Bugs Happy: Using Native Plants to Support Bees and Other Beneficial Insects"
• Bob Wildfong, Pollination Canada, "Be a Pollinator Observer: How to Identify and Record Information About Pollinators in Your Own Backyard"

For information or to register, contact or visit

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