Report Shows How You Can Help a Range of Pollinators from Home this Summer
Greenbelt Foundation Report Explains Climate Change’s Impact on Pollinators and How You Can Help During COVID-19
With summer almost here, many of us are turning to balconies and yards to connect with nature by planting seeds, growing vegetables, and enjoying the pollinators who visit our plants. Southern Ontario is home to a staggering 350 different bee species, as well as many wasps, butterflies, beetles, flies, moths, and hummingbirds who also pollinate our plants. Having a diversity of these pollinators is what puts tomatoes on our garden vines and keeps our grocery store shelves stocked.
Pollinators in a Changing Climate is the latest in a series of short, highly-visual reports that ask how everyday things are impacted by climate change.
With COVID-19 reminding us of the importance of healthy local food systems, what better a time than now for adults and kids to learn about protecting these important creatures from the safety of home.
Pollinators in a Changing Climate is the latest in a series of short, highly-visual reports that ask how everyday things are impacted by climate change. The Greenbelt Foundation launched this series to help make climate change—an often complicated, confusing subject—more relatable to Ontarians. For this issue, we collaborated with Dr. Sheila R. Colla, a conservation biologist and assistant professor at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies.
Colla’s report explains how readers can keep their gardens “messy,”, ensure they have flowers blooming from spring to fall, and even get involved in citizen-science projects (e.g. BumbleBeeWatch) to help record data on pollinators in their area. The report shares some interesting impacts that climate change has on pollinators, like flower/pollinator mismatches, where flowers start to emerge at different times than the pollinators who rely on them.
“We tend to think about protecting well-known pollinators like the Honey Bee or Monarch,” says Kathy Macpherson, VP of Research and Policy at Greenbelt Foundation. “But our region requires many different pollinator species in order to have healthy crops, ecosystems, and our own gardens. Many may not realize it, but there’s actually an economic impact to losing pollinators. As we lose species we see a knock-on effect, where our agricultural systems are compromised, and the ecosystems we rely on for fresh water, clean air, and cool temperatures are degraded.”
COVID-19 has many of us looking for activities to do around the house with our families. This report offers great activities for adults and kids looking to make a difference and get outdoors. The report also features illustrations of various species of pollinators by artist, Ann Sanderson, that are great for introducing kids to pollinator identification.
“Our native ecosystems have co-evolved to be pollinated by hundreds of species of native insects,” says Dr. Colla, author of the report. “In order to ensure the sustainability and resilience of our ecosystems going forward, especially under climate change, we need to do everything we can right now to support native pollinator diversity and protect habitat like Ontario's Greenbelt.”
About the Greenbelt Foundation
The Greenbelt Foundation is the only organization solely dedicated to ensuring that Ontario’s Greenbelt remains permanent, protected and prosperous. We make the right investments in its interconnected natural, agricultural and economic systems, to ensure a working, thriving Greenbelt for all.
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