Wild at Heart: Wild About Wildlife and Pollinators!

Wild at Heart: Wild About Wildlife and Pollinators!

Take a moment and think about a wildlife rehabilitation centre: do images of injured turtles, sick owls, and orphaned deer fawns and racoons come to mind? Probably! How about insects and pollinators? Maybe not, but Wild at Heart is hoping to change your mind about what wildlife centres do.

Who is Wild at Heart?

Located in Lively, Ontario, Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre is a wildlife rehabilitation centre focused on providing quality veterinary care to northern Ontario’s injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife. Our goal is to release all admitted animals back into the wild, helping to ensure the health of the habitats that these animals call home. We also focus on protecting nature through our educational and outreach programming.

Child completing a turtle shell repair craft at Wild at Heart’s Pollinator Garden “Grand Opening” event, held June 24, 2017

Healthy Ecosystems for All

We also firmly believe that a healthy ecosystem means everything is healthy: people, animals, insects, vegetation, and water systems. Pollinators, like bumblebees, hummingbirds, bats, and butterflies, are critical to maintaining biodiversity by ensuring that plants can reproduce through pollination. We are very excited about our partnership with Bee City Canada through the Bee City Business Program and looking forward to working together to bring greater awareness about how individuals and communities can make positive changes to help these incredible and essential insects and animals.

Wild Lupin found in Wild at Heart’s pollinator garden being pollinated by solitary wild bee.

Pollinator Garden Celebration

In June 2017, Wild at Heart celebrated the “Grand Opening” of our pollinator garden during National Pollinator Week, thanks to a grant from BEAN. The event, which drew families and others from nearby communities, featured an expert gardener, tomato and milkweed plant giveaways, and fun activities for all. Our guests learned about the native plants in our garden, as well as healthy gardening practices, like using a rain barrel, compost, natural mulch, and weeding techniques. We were very pleased by the positive comments from our visitors, and since this event, our new garden had been recognized through the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat Certification program!

Road sign for Wild at Heart’s pollinator garden “Grand Opening” event, held June 24, 2017.

Watering our pollinator garden with water collected in our rain barrel.

Get Involved and Learn with Wild at Heart!

We invite you to join one of Wild at Heart’s education workshops, which are available for classrooms, seniors’ and community groups, and birthday celebrations. Check out http://wahrefugecentre.org for more information.

Don’t live in Sudbury? You can support Wild at Heart by purchasing a yearly membership, or symbolically adopting an animal, like a moose, snowy owl, Blanding’s turtle, or red fox.

Connect with Wild at Heart:

Website: http://wahrefugcentre.org
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @WAHRefugeCentre
YouTube: @babooshka152

Monica Seidel

Monica Seidel

This featured post was written by Monica Seidel, an Environmental Science graduate from Queen’s University who began working at Wild at Heart after completing their volunteer animal care internship. She has a passion for creating online educational content, and empowering children to learn about wildlife and the environment, and how they can make a positive, and often local, impact.

Bee City School Garden Project Breaks Ground

Bee City School Garden Project Breaks Ground

Planting and tending to a garden can teach us many important things about nature, pollinators and where our food comes from, which is why we’re extremely excited about our School Gardens project that kicked-off earlier this spring.

Bee City Canada founder Shelly Candel speaks with students and teachers at North Bendale Public School. The Bee City team visited all participating schools during the winter to talk about plants, pollinators and begin the garden planning process.

This initiative, which is being generously supported by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Patagonia, will bring pollinator, herb and edible gardens to several Toronto-area schools including Tredway Woodsworth and North Bendale Public Schools in Scarborough, Valley Park Middle School and Marc Garneau Collegiate in Thorncliffe and Cottingham Junior Public School in Summerhill.

Students learned that an essential step of establishing a garden is creating a good design and plan.

Why Gardens? 

Gardens are a simple way through which we can help children build a greater sense of connectedness with nature, especially those growing-up in highly urbanized environments. In addition, they promote physical activity, self-sufficiency and encourage healthier eating, which includes more fruit and vegetables. Some studies also suggest that students who are exposed to outdoor learning activities can perform better academically.

Building the Gardens 

As I write this, the first and most laborious phase of the project is taking place. Truckloads of compost, which will serve as the base for the gardens, have started arriving at the schools and the students have taken up shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows to begin shaping the planting areas.  Seed for hardier, cold-tolerant varieties of plants, like kale, swiss chard and lettuce, are being sown directly into the beds, while more tender varieties will be planted as the risk of frost passes. Several other plants that will eventually find their way into the gardens were started by the students and cared for in their classrooms, providing an excellent opportunity to observe the growing process up-close and learn about the ways of nature.

Starting seeds.

Next Steps                                

By early June, focus will shift to the maintenance phase of the project, which will include tasks like watering, weeding and checking for any potential problems. By the end of the school year, we hope that the students will have learned a great deal and, with some good fortune and a healthy dose of sunshine, be able to harvest the first fruits of their labour.

We’ll “bee” updating our blog with more photos and our latest school garden news throughout the growing season so, please make sure to check back often to see what’s “growing” on!

A Great Year at Bee City Canada!

A Great Year at Bee City Canada!

With the end of the year approaching, we share with you Bee City Canada’s highlights for 2017 and plans for the future.

Bee Cities from coast to coast! Eight new cities joined us, bringing our current total to 10 Bee Cities, spanning from British Columbia to New Brunswick.

Businesses are helping pollinators! Businesses and organizations, like West Queen West BIA and The Bee Shop, have partnered with us through our new Bee Business program. Also, generous support from A. Vogel and Movieposter.com helped us to continue to advocate for pollinators.

Schools are buzzing! Gardens were planted, seeds were saved and young minds at our six Bee Schools and one Bee Campus learned many important things about bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

Much Anticipation for 2018

Our plans for the new year include some exciting, new initiatives.

More Bee Communities – Keep Bee City growing by adding:

  • 10 new Bee Cities
  • 50 Bee Businesses and organizations, and
  • 20 new Bee Schools and Campuses.

New initiatives:

  • Launch a free regional native seed giveaway program for all Bee Cities and other members.
  • Establish six edible and pollinator gardens at schools.
  • Organize workshops and field trips to connect students with how food is grown.
  • Host free public webinars featuring experts on pollinators and other subjects.

Support our Work

As a charitable organization, our work depends on the generosity of our donors and sponsors. We are confident that, with your help, we can continue to support these initiatives and advocate for the protection of pollinators across Canada.

We close off by wholeheartedly thanking you, our friends across Canada and elsewhere, for your continued support and commitment to our cherished pollinators. 2018 promises to be another busy year and we look forward to it with much anticipation.

Happy holidays to you and your families!

The Bee City Canada team

West Queen West Becomes First Bee City Business in Canada

West Queen West Becomes First Bee City Business in Canada

Bee City Canada is very excited to announce the launch of the Bee City Business program along with a partnership with the West Queen West Business Improvement Association (WQW BIA), the first participant in this new initiative!

The Bee City Business program opens the door to businesses and non-profit organizations wishing to join the growing Bee City family. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for businesses to show that they are socially responsible and committed to taking actions that will help our troubled pollinators.

West Queen West recently introduced their “Pollinator Paradise” project, creating Toronto’s first bee-friendly streetscape. The strip of Queen street between Bathurst Street and Gladstone Avenue has been lined with large, artfully decorated, concrete planters seeded with a mix of pollinator, edible, and medicinal plants. Several bee hotels have also been installed on 10-foot-high birch poles that have been set in the planters. Work for this project was done with the help of Restorative Landscapes and has received positive reviews from area residents, visitors, local businesses and, quite certainly, Toronto’s pollinators!

Rob Sysak, the Executive Director of the WQW BIA explained why the project became a priority for this community.

“The bee population loss is such a big problem and sometimes it seems overwhelming. People ask themselves; what can I do, I’m just one person? Well, WQW believe that even though we are only a 2-kilometre strip in a large city, if we take care of our area and become a “Pollinator’s Paradise”, we will not only help pollinators but also become an example to others.”

Planter and bee hotel. Photo by Nick Savva.

Shelly Candel, the founder of Bee City Canada, agrees and points to this initiative as an example of how businesses can act to help our troubled pollinators. “There’s an opportunity for businesses to take a leadership role to make things better for pollinators. The WQW BIA has found a clever way to do this. They’ve beautified their neighbourhood, making it more attractive to visitors and residents, while also helping pollinators in the city. Visitors to the area love how great everything looks, the business owners fully support the initiative and the bees are happy. It’s truly a win-win scenario!”

Planters and seating at the corner of Queen and Tecumseth are inviting for area visitors, the local community and pollinators. Photo by Nick Savva.

Saving the Bees at Stirling Public School

Saving the Bees at Stirling Public School

Stirling Public School’s super exciting actions to save the bees.

They recently become a Bee City Canada School and their garden is already growing!

Mrs. Mossman-Cross' Grade 1 Class

At Fun Fairs selling Wildflower Seed Paper and A. Vogel Echinacea seeds, using QR codes to explain pollinator decline, Stirling has shown what a lot of love and collective effort can achieve. Seeds are the very life that bees bring us, they keep ecologies healthy and diverse.

The seed paper allows them to make their pollinator garden even more beautiful and it is perfect for sharing with others who want to help feed pollinators too.

As you can see, the students in Miss Lee-Cook’s class make habitat creation for bees and butterflies a super fun event.

Makes you want to jump out and plant a garden!

Many hands dug into the earth, and together this delightful community of students and teachers created a place of beauty and bounty.

We are so thrilled that Mrs. Mossman-Cross and her class connected us with their fellow nature lovers at Stirling P.S., we can’t wait to meet them all!

Meeting the pollinators in their garden is going to be great too! Hello Bees!

 

A. Vogel “Save the Bees” Campaign

A. Vogel “Save the Bees” Campaign

A.Vogel wants to help save the bees!

Bees and other pollinators are the unpaid workforce of A.Vogel, pollinating herbs and ensuring they have high quality products. They never use pesticides or chemical fertilizers, so pollinators are very willing workers!

To help protect pollinators and their habitat, A. Vogel is generously donating $1 from the sale of each unit of their Allergy Relief line of products to Bee City Canada and Urban Seedling, a Montreal-based business specializing in creating organic vegetable gardens in urban areas.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you can get the relief you need and help save pollinators at the same time.

A.Vogel Allergy Relief is a homeopathic medicine for the treatment of sneezing, itchy nose and burning eyes. After using A.Vogel Allergy Relief, 88.5% of patients reported an improvement in their allergy symptoms.

A.Vogel Allergy Relief is:

  • Non-addictive, non drowsy and has no side effects.
  • Sugar, lactose and gluten-free.
  • Safe for pregnant women and children aged 1 and up.