Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A video press release from York University, where I study honeybee genetics, and an audio interview with Lara DiBattista on CBC Radio's Here and Now program discuss the Pollinator Advocate Award. So, if you are tired of reading and want sound and/or live action, check one of the links above.

Migrating monarch on Aster
I was sitting in the field near York's pond, surrounded by wildflowers, bees, wasps, and a few butterflies, when my cell rang. I answered and it was the CBC inviting me to come downtown for an interview. Frankly, I couldn't imagine a more perfect setting to get a call like that! It was sunny and mild. I couldn't spend much time in the field since I had to race downtown, but I looked at the pollinators for a while. Bumblebees were in evidence - at this season we see both workers and the long-antenna'd males (drones). I didn't see any honeybees at all, unusual since they continue foraging on any mild day in fall or spring. There are still a few monarchs migrating south, but their numbers are declining as colder weather approaches. They like the fall asters.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Award to Pollinator Gardens

Clement Kent as MC at Dufferin Grove Pollinator Party
I'm very pleased to announce that the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) will be awarding its 2011 Canadian Pollinator Advocate Award to Clement Kent (yours truly) at their 2011 conference in late October. Although the award is given to individuals, in my mind it is really an award to all of us who have volunteered so much time in the last several years to build pollinator gardens and inform the public through talks and literature. Well done! to all of us...

building a pollinator nest box

One of those collaborative activities happened on May 29th at Dufferin Grove Park, where I collaborated with sound artist Sarah Peebles, poet Stephen Humphrey, artificer extraordinaire Rob Cruickshank, bee researchers Sheila Colla and Scott MacIvor and Laurence Packer, landscaper and Park staffer Rachel Weston, and many members of the public to stage a Pollinator Party.

This multi-media, arts and science and gardening event had displays about pollinators, workshops on building artistic pollinator nest sites, poetry readings, and the inaugural planting of a Children's Pollinator Garden in the Dufferin Grove Park.
one of the youngest workshop participants with her mom
Nest box (Sarah Peebles) and poetry(Stephen Humphrey)

The Party was a joy to be in - lot's of folks from many walks of life in the spring sun to celebrate pollinators!

stereo poetry reading

The Stereo Poetry reading was a fantastic sound collage - sorry, I've misplaced the two readers' names, send me a comment and we'll update the blog.

Stephen Humphrey reading to musical accompaniment

Stephen is far too modest about his poetry - he's writer-in-residence with the CanPolin Canadian Pollinator Initiative. Check out his comments and photography at his cleverly named (but of course, he's a poet!) blog.

some very creative bees nest were made!
a satisfied nest designer - we aim to please bees!

Rachel Weston and children plant pollinator garden
The Children's Pollinator Garden was an initiative of Rachel Weston and the Dufferin Grove Park staff. Rachel had a lot of help from budding pollinator fans, as you can see. Our Pollinator Garden Project was happy to provide a variety of native plants and to assist Rachel in growing seedlings from other native species. We'd like to give special thanks to all of the Dufferin Grove Park staff and the City of Toronto for supporting this event!