Kirby Delaney, a VIU masters of community planning program graduate who wrote her thesis on the benefits of bees in communities, left, Chris Brown, masters of education student and president of VIU’s Community Peace Garden, and Margot Thomaidis, a master of community planning student and member of the peace garden ecosystem club are part of an effort that helped the VIU Nanaimo campus be designated B.C.’s first Bee Campus by Bee City Canada on Wednesday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

VIU students in Nanaimo have been busy creating haven for bees

Peace garden and program to protect pollinators providing new educational opportunities

Knowledge is the nectar expected to flow from a new program that will provide educational opportunities for students while protecting bees and other pollinators.

Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus became British Columbia’s first Bee City Canada Bee Campus with an event held at the campus’s peace garden Wednesday.

Bee City Canada designation – intended to inspire municipalities, First Nations, schools, businesses and other organizations to take action to protect pollinators – commits VIU to organize activities that help protect bees, wasps and other insects. A VIU press release noted 70 per cent of all plant species depend upon pollinators, which are under threat by environmental stresses, such as pesticides, pollution and parasites.

“It’s part of a movement,” said Shelly Candel, director of Bee City Canada. “It’s across Canada – there’s now 34 cities across Canada – there’s already four in British Columbia, two First Nation communities and Clearwater and Kamloops,”

VIU joins eight universities across Canada that have been awarded Bee Campus designations.

The campus peace garden has been revitalized and will become a haven for bees by growing a variety of plants favoured by pollinating insects. VIU’s sustainability advisory committee and faculty of education contributed $1,000 each to the project.

“This is a demonstration site that we want to show feasibility to be able to scale up to other spaces,” said Chris Brown, education student and president of VIU’s Community Peace Garden. “Because it is a marginal space. It’s the northwest side of the library. We don’t have a great light profile. There’s no irrigation installed right now, but everything is doing well.”

Brown envisions such features as a greenhouse that can tap waste heat from the campus library’s HVAC system vents as part of the garden’s future potential as a demonstration and teaching site. Planning calls for an edible forest on the plot too.

“This garden is multi-disciplinary, so all of the different groups on campus can benefit from this as an educational space.”

READ ALSO: Student club buzzing about bees

The university’s masters of community planning program and the VIU Peace Garden Educational Ecosystem student club are also working together to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators to maintain healthy ecosystems.

Margot Thomaidis, a masters of community planning student in her final year and member of the peace garden club, helped apply for the designation and said the next steps involve building more garden beds, buying plants, increasing soil production and other tasks and hosting gardening basics workshops in early 2020.

“Everything we’re doing, such as increasing biodiversity, is supporting pollinators – there’s that lens – but including as many students as possible when we’re doing it because it’s about awareness. It’s about education,” Thomaidis said.

An immediate goal, she said, is to plant large numbers of flowers that will produce food for bees in the spring.

Kirby Delaney, a VIU masters of community planning graduate, wrote her thesis on the benefits to bees and communities from making space for pollinators in municipalities. She explained how making a space for bees on campus has already brought multiple departments together to focus on and derive educational opportunities from working to achieve the Bee Campus designation.

“It means that, as a university, we’ve made a commitment,” Delaney said. “It means that there was a lot of work behind the scenes to figure out what this program would look like at VIU and lot of student hours, a lot of faculty hours to make all of this actually happen before the designation process could actually begin, so there’s already a lot of research and a lot of manual labour behind it.”

To learn more about VIU’s Bee Campus designation, click here.

For more information on Bee City Canada, visit https://beecitycanada.org/.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Photo: Facebook)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for mischief and assault. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo man wanted for throwing merchandise at convenience store clerk

Police in Nanaimo hope public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for assault and mischief

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Mariah Charleson, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council vice-president, left, was among those voicing support for Mi’kmaq lobster harvesters in Nova Scotia that are seeing their catch dumped and taken and property damaged. A solidarity rally was held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Oct. 22. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)
Solidarity rally in Nanaimo sees support for Mi’kmaq lobster fishers

Indigenous people and supporters gather at Maffeo Sutton Park Thursday

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read