LOCAL FLAVOUR: Events create a buzz of excitement

A number of events planned around Victoria for Pollinator Week

By Linda Geggie

As you may know if you are a regular reader of this column, I am a big pollinator fan. Every third bite of food we eat is thanks to pollinators.

Due to loss of habitat and forage, pests and diseases, insecticide use, climate change, and invasive plants pollinator populations are declining, not only here in the region, but across the globe.

I am working as part of a coalition called the Island Pollinator Initiative. The interest of the group is to raise awareness about local pollinators as well as promote pollinator health. The coalition is stewarded by Pollinator Partnership Canada (P2C). P2C is an international organization, with a strong, local presence here in the region; the organization’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to healthy ecosystems and food production, through conservation, education, and research.

Pollinator Week (June 18 to 24) is a keystone initiative of Pollinator Partnership that was initiated 11 years ago in the U.S. in order to address the urgent (global) issue of declining pollinator populations, and has grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

In celebration of Pollinator Week, P2C is co-hosting a number of events throughout the week with other members and collaborators of the Island Pollinator Initiative. There are two important events that I want to let you know about, the first is a film screening and the second is an opportunity to unveil a new native bee apiary.

The Guardians is a film that will be screened at Cinecenta at the University of Victoria. This is a visually dazzling meditation on the delicate balance between human and nature, The Guardians elegantly interweaves the lives of the iconic monarch butterfly with an indigenous community in Mexico. Both depend on the same ancient forest for their survival and now face an uncertain future. Please come and see it on June 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinecenta (UVIC). Tickets are $13 and available through FB page/Eventbrite.

The second activity is the Yates Street Garden Open House & Pollinator Celebration on Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We are celebrating the unveiling of the native bee apiary that has been installed at the community garden, funded by the City of Victoria’s first Participatory Budgeting Process. There will be opportunities for members of the public to become engaged in community gardening, local and urban food production, and pollinator conservation and habitat creation. It is also so exciting to see a new community garden spring up in the region.

Jenny Lotz is the outreach coordinator of P2C, and she let me know of some very exciting news that we want to share. The City of Victoria has officially recognized and signed a proclamation for Pollinator Week. Outreach and educational material about pollinators and pollinator conservation in Greater Victoria will be displayed in the foyer at City Hall for the duration of Pollinator Week (Monday – Friday). Further, the Parliament buildings are going to be lit up in black and yellow on Monday, June 18 at dusk until 1 a.m. in recognition of pollinators and pollinator conservation. P2C and the Island Pollinator Initiative invite you to come and celebrate and show your love for pollinators in any way that you can. For more information on Pollinator Week and how you can become involved, please contact Jenny Lotz at jl@pollinator.org.

Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@cfair.ca.

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