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Pollinator pop-up signifies dedication to local ecosystems 

Local NewsPollinator pop-up signifies dedication to local ecosystems 

Several residents learned all about pollinators during a pop-up information session at the County of Brant Public Library, Burford Branch on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

During the presentation, Mackenzie Sheppard, Forestry and Horticulture Coordinator for the County of Brant, discussed the importance of pollinators, current and future department projects, as well as the County’s new Bee City designation.

“Recently, the County has become the 82nd Bee City which is a Canadian wide designation. It’s still fairly new and this just means we’re promoting and supporting pollinator conservation by adding in more pollinators to the gardens,” said Sheppard. “… It also signifies our dedication to benefiting local ecosystems and the health of our planet.”

To kick off the event, Sheppard identified bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, beetles and flies as the six main pollinators found within the County. As well, she discussed the reasons that pollinator populations are declining.

“Some of those issues are because of habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, climate change, pests, pathogens and disease, agrochemicals, pollution (air, light and water) and non-native plant species,” she said.

Residents learn more about the County of Brant seed library during a pollinator pop-up event on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Sheppard noted that native plant species are naturally occurring plants that have evolved in particular geographic region or eco-system, without human intervention or introduction.

“These plants have adapted over time to the specific environmental conditions, climates and interactions with local wildlife and native habitats,” she said. “These plants play a crucial role in our environment… making them an essential component to biodiversity and conservation efforts.”

Since, the Bee City designation, the County has been working towards its commitment by redesigning gardens to incorporate more native plants, decreasing herbicides, pesticides, and emissions, removing invasive plant species, adding pollinator corridors, retiring grass only areas and of course, celebrating pollinator week from June 17 to June 23, 2024.

Sheppard also touched on how community members can participate and make a difference on their own properties.  

“You can help create bee-friendly habitats by planting a variety of herbs and flowering plants in your gardens or even balconies; Try to choose plants that bloom at different times of the year to provide a continuous source of nectar and pollen,” she said. “You can also help by avoiding herbicides and pesticides, or by providing nesting sites (like bee hotels), leaving your leaves, as well as, by supporting bee friendly policies.”

Mackenzie Sheppard, Forestry and Horticulture Coordinator for the County of Brant, discusses upcoming pollinator pop-up events on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

During the presentation, Sheppard also discussed with the County’s three-person Forestry department has accomplished since October 2022, including:

– Publishing the County of Brant Tree Protection Guide (for developers)

– Amended the Good Forestry (GF) Practices by-law (for private woodlot harvesting)

– Reviewed and accepted 16 applications for GF management activities (doubled this winter and spring)

– Completed tree canopy coverage assessment for the entire county

– Over 1,400 trees inventoried in parks and cemeteries

– Helped arrange planting 649 trees on County property via tree planting events

– Reviewed, commented and requested tree protection on approx. 190 development applications

Attendees also had the opportunity to ask serval questions about types of tree and native species they should plant, how to best encourage more pollinators, invasive species and diseases to look out for and as well, shared various pollinator clubs they have started themselves.

To end the presentation, Sheppard reminded everyone to look out for more of their pop-up events and encouraged everyone to plant several orange plant species for the upcoming Communities in Bloom, as well as the pollinator picture contest.

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