My goal is to raise awareness and educate the community about endangered pollinators.
By Conne Xie
Leaders carry the expectations of keeping the community safe and inclusive while creating changes when required. My experience these past four years as a community leader has given me the honour of meeting a diverse range of people who patiently taught me how to improve my abilities in this endeavour.
Over the past several months, the BWC team was created. We have taken the opportunity to decorate a roundabout in the South Vancouver area and turn it into a bee garden. The garden will include more than just specific pollinator flowers: there will be posters detailing the challenges bees face and the steps being taken to alleviate the concerns.
This is just the first step. The final project will include an infographic display and a Bee garden. Anybody can volunteer and contribute to this project, as one of the goals of the BWC is to be as inclusive as possible by encouraging involvement and supporting local businesses. Currently, the BWC is working with local farmer market Hives for Humanities and neighbourhood houses to support one another.
Note that I am no bee lover per se. Yes, I still run away when the furry creature flies my way; but in a different light, I realize that these creatures mean more to the environment than we thought. Other than the honey bees, who hold a monetary value, mud bees, bumblebees, and all the other species face extinction.
Bees face a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which most of the worker bees in a colony suddenly disappear and never return, leaving behind a few nurse bees, immature bees, and the queen, causing the entire colony to perish. Certain factors that may cause CCD include pathogens, loss of habitat, stress and dangerous pesticides.
New diseases such as Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) and the gut parasite Nosema can also play a role in CCD. Colony Collapse Disorder can also occur from pesticides in agriculture, pathogens and diseases in beehives, environmental stress, and loss of territory. Beekeepers and entomologists know that pesticides, pathogens, and diseases negatively impact bee populations around the world, causing a significant decrease of bees each year.
Therefore, no single pathogen can severely affect the current number of worker bees abandoning their hives and leaving them to die. With technology and society becoming more advanced and growing rapidly each day, the number of stress bees experience due to their living environments are astonishing. With all these factors combined, it has caused many hives to collapse around the world. As the bee populations continue to decline, a greater threat looms over global agriculture as 33% of the food we eat is only available because of pollinators like bees.
This is where BWC’s community bee garden hopes to help. Humans are beginning to take over more natural land through urban development and farming. Monocultures increase production to feed the unceasing human population, however, these plants do not need pollinators like bees in order to reproduce since they depend on the wind. This makes bees useless and unable to find food, as a result, many of them die.
Turning a backyard into a bee-friendly garden or planting small flower gardens on rooftops of buildings can give bees a place to pollinate and find food. Having a small garden with plenty of flowers in your backyard helps bee colonies more than farmland does. Moreover, one of the largest threats to bees is the lack of safe habitats. By planting a bee garden, you create a safe place for bees to build their homes while finding a variety of nutritious food sources from the plants that are rich in pollen and nectar.
My passion to enact change in areas the community needs to pay attention to has allowed me to inspire others to do the same. During January of 2020, the Buzzing with the Community project was merely a dream to me, a ‘bee vision’. However, by March, I gained the favour of Neighborhood Small Grants and had my project funded. From there, I began recruiting and soon enough the BWC team was created. The creation of the project included months of planning and the road ahead of BWC is still long and winding.