APRIL 25, 2019 - You probably know that bees and butterflies need our help – but do you know how easy it is?
Helping backyard pollinators can be as simple as planting a packet of native wildflower seeds in your backyard or on your balcony.
“That’s going to attract the pollinators, and once they pollinate the plants you’ll have more flowers,” said Amanda Lange, a resource technician with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA). “That in turn attracts more pollinators.”
Before you know it, you’ll have a backyard buzzing with activity and life.
Bees are the best-known pollinators, but they have lots of company. Native wildflowers – species that naturally occur in the region – attract flies, beetles, moths, butterflies and even some birds who all feed on the nectar of flowering plants, and in return help the plants reproduce. Without the right flowers to feed from, pollinators can quickly disappear. And without pollinators, the plants and crops that rely on them can also start to suffer.
“It’s a cycle. Everything’s connected,” Lange said.
Lange will represent the RVCA at the City of Ottawa’s Wildlife Speaker Series on April 26, which this spring will focus on the “secret superheroes” we rely on to pollinate not just our gardens but also important food crops and wild areas.
The event includes an hour-long vendor expo, where the RVCA and other environmental organizations will promote their stewardship and conservation programs. Afterward, two speakers will take the stage to discuss the important role pollinators play in our lives. Dr. Jessica Forrest, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Ottawa, will discuss her research on the effects of climate change on pollination, the role of wild bees in crop pollination and the natural history of pollination. Dr. Jeff Skevington is a Research Scientist and the Head of Diptera (flies) at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian National Collection of Insects in Ottawa. He will unofficially launch his new book, a ‘Field Guide to the Flower Flies (Hover Flies) of Northeastern North America’ at the event.
The free event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at Ben Franklin Place at 101 Centrepoint Drive in Nepean.
How RVCA supports pollinators:
• Shoreline Naturalization Program replaces invasive species with native plants, and offers wildflower seeds and bee boxes for participants
• The “pollinator meadow” at Perth Wildlife Reserve Conservation Area buzzes with life every spring and summer
• City Stream Watch program in Ottawa removes invasive species to allow native plants to re-establish
• Wetland conservation projects involve planting native seed mixes that support pollinators.
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