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Oshawa buzzing on pollinators

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa is set to take further steps to protect its increasingly endangered pollinator population.

Council has approved a plan for the city to become a ‘Bee City.’

An application will be sent to Bee City Canada, an organizations that has called on communities, schools and businesses “to take action to protect pollinators.”

Over the past decade, pollinator populations, especially bees, have decreased significantly.

A staff report attributes these declines to land fragmentation, habitat loss, use of pesticides, industrialized agriculture, climate change, harsher winters and the spread of pests and disease.

In May 2017, the Ontario Nature Youth Council asked the City of Oshawa to consider becoming a Bee City.

The Ontario Nature Youth Council is provincial network that advocates on behalf of conservation efforts and issues. It is made up of 90 youth members from 50 communities across the province.

The city has already undertaken several initiatives to aid in conserving and restoring pollinator habitats.

Formal pollinator gardens have been planted at city hall, the Legends Centre and the Rossland Road butterfly garden.

Community gardens all have areas with pollinator-friendly flowering trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.

The city was also one of the first in Canada that moved to reduce the use of pesticides in favour of cultural practices.

As part of the Bee City application, Oshawa must commit to ‘create a healthy pollinator habitat, education about pollinators and celebrate pollinators.”

The city has also pledged to create summer programs that include education and participation in the development of pollinator garden and applying for any relevant grants.

There is no cost to the city to participate in the Bee City program.

Councillor Amy McQuaid-England called the application a “great step forward.”

She noted there are already many individuals that are “already doing substantial things” to protect the pollinator population.

“We all need to be conscious of this,” she stated, noting that without bees the harvesting o food becomes extremely difficult.