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Happy Summer Solstice everyone! Way back in April for our Flower Power week, I said we’d get to learn more about bumblebees and other pollinators, and that week is finally here! June 22-28 is Pollinator Week in Canada and the US, and with all the summer fruits and vegetables starting to show up on the farm and at your local farmer’s market, it’s a great time to think about and say thank you to the animals we can’t live without.

Did you know that one out of every three bites of food you eat relies on animal pollination? Most of the fruits (like apples, berries, and melons) and vegetables-that-are-actually-fruits (like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and peas) we eat need animals to pollinate the plant’s flowers before it forms fruits. And many other vegetables (like carrots and beets) need pollinators to form the seeds they grow from. You can find a list of just some of the foods that need animal pollinators at the Pollinator Partnership. And that’s not even thinking about all the other plants that rely on animals to help them make seeds!

So thank a bee, bat, bird, fly, moth, butterfly, wasp, or even lemur for the work they do to help our plant friends!

Meet Your Local Pollinators

What do pollinators need to survive? And what pollinators live in your neighborhood? Check out this activity for all ages to learn some pollinator facts. Then, take what you’ve learned out into your neighbourhood to see which pollinators can make a happy home near you!

Neighbourhood Pollinators Activity Guide

 

Learn About Bumblebees

I’ve said before that bumblebees are my favorites. They are just so fuzzy and chill and hard working. As long as you’re not messing with them, you can get right up close and watch them harvest pollen and nectar. And especially in the morning when they are sleepy and hanging out on a flower to warm up, you can even gently pet them! (One very gentle finger, please!)

The Bumblebee Queen, by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne is a fabulous way for young (and not-so-young) learners to see the whole bumblebee life cycle. And through Tumble Book Library, you can see this book come to life! To access it, you’ll need to first log into your Vancouver Public Library account, then click the link below. Don’t have a VPL account? You may be able to log in through your local library, or you can sign up for a free trial.

The Bumblebee Queen

 

Bees in Danger?

You’ve probably heard that bees are in trouble. Both our native bee species and commercial honeybees, which originally came from Europe, have seen declines in their numbers in the last couple of decades. You know how important our pollinators are, so you know this is a big problem for us and for other living things! But why is it happening? It’s… complicated. This activity for older students (grade 7+) helps explain some of the complexities involved. It’s focused on California, but as we’ve talked about before, a very large percentage of the produce we eat in BC is pollinated by those Californian bees.

You’ll need to create a free account to download this lesson plan!

Colony Collapse Disorder Lesson

Make a Pollinator Haven

What can you do to help our pollinators? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! 1, Give them some food. 2, Give them some water, and 3, give them shelter. Especially in the city, it’s hard for pollinators to find the things they need to survive, but it doesn’t take a lot to help them out. If you have enough outdoor space for a pot of flowers and a shallow dish of water, you can help make a pollinator haven. Check out the info from the David Suzuki Foundation on How to Create a Pollinator Friendly Yard for ideas, activities, and more, and the Wilderness Society’s Bee Cheat Sheet for a list of native plants that will bring all the bees to your yard!

How to Create a Pollinator Friendly Yard
Bee Cheat Sheet

Taste Pollinator Power!

Here’s another Camp Fresh Roots classic recipe – Pollinator Power Salad! You can use any fruits that are in season. Strawberries and cherries would be a great choice right now. Oh, and if you want to get extra fancy, chiffonade a few fresh basil leaves and mix them in with your fruit. You’ll thank me, and the bees!

Pollinator Power Salad

With joy and gratitude,

Kat

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