Border Free Bees lands additional funding to increase scope of project
UBC’s Border Free Bees research project is encouraging local residents to ‘bee’ friendly this summer.
Border Free Bees is a long-term public art initiative in collaboration with faculty at UBC’s Okanagan campus, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and numerous community partners.
The goal is to raise awareness of the plight of wild pollinators, and at the same time empower communities to actively engage in solutions for habitat loss, and transform under-utilized urban sites into aesthetically pleasing and scientifically viable pollinator pastures, explains UBC’s Nancy Holmes, a professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.
“One in three bites of food we eat is thanks to a pollinator and only some of these pollinators are honey bees,” Holmes adds. “We want to encourage people to plant small gardens to support all of the amazing insects who support our survival and the survival of countless birds and other animals around us.”
Border Free Bees is a long-term research project, partially funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and there are several projects underway in partnership with scientists, specialists, community groups, businesses, and municipalities.
Holmes, who is co-investigator with Border Free Bees, was recently named UBC Okanagan’s Researcher of the Year in the Social Sciences and Humanities.
Last summer, Border Free Bees formed a Nectar Trail in Kelowna’s Mission neighbourhood with more than 100 homes, businesses, schools, churches and other organizations joining up. Countless others outside the neighbourhood wanted to be part of the movement to support bees and other wild pollinators, but funding had run out, says Holmes. Border Free Bees organizers approached their original funder, Go Wild, a World Wildlife Federation initiative, to expand the program throughout the city.
And thanks to a Telus Go Wild community grant, Holmes says the project will continue this summer and she is looking for more. Bee Ambassadors across the city this spring.
Starting in mid-March, anyone within Kelowna’s city limits can commit to being a Bee Ambassador. The first 200 ambassadors will be provided with a free Bee Ambassador Package that includes a lawn sign, a bee ID booklet and guidelines for planting and caring for pollinators. Border Free Bees will continue to provide packages beyond that number until all the funds are spent, says Holmes.
For more information about the project, the public is invited to attend a Bee Ambassador Info Night on Wednesday, April 11 from 7 to 8:30 pm at the downtown Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library at 1380 Ellis St.
For more information and to sign up visit: borderfreebees.com/projects/2018-kelowna-bee-ambassador or contact Border Free Bees at firstname.lastname@example.org.