Kirby Delaney, a VIU masters of community planning program graduate who wrote her thesis on the benefits of bees in communities, left, Chris Brown, masters of education student and president of VIU’s Community Peace Garden, and Margot Thomaidis, a master of community planning student and member of the peace garden ecosystem club are part of an effort that helped the VIU Nanaimo campus be designated B.C.’s first Bee Campus by Bee City Canada on Wednesday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Kirby Delaney, a VIU masters of community planning program graduate who wrote her thesis on the benefits of bees in communities, left, Chris Brown, masters of education student and president of VIU’s Community Peace Garden, and Margot Thomaidis, a master of community planning student and member of the peace garden ecosystem club are part of an effort that helped the VIU Nanaimo campus be designated B.C.’s first Bee Campus by Bee City Canada on Wednesday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

VIU students busy creating haven for bees

British Columbia’s first Bee City Canada Bee Campus established in Nanaimo

Knowledge is the nectar expected to flow from a new program that will provide educational opportunities for students while protecting bees and other pollinators.

Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus became British Columbia’s first Bee City Canada Bee Campus with an event held at the campus’s peace garden Wednesday.

Bee City Canada designation – intended to inspire municipalities, First Nations, schools, businesses and other organizations to take action to protect pollinators – commits VIU to organize activities that help protect bees, wasps and other insects. A VIU press release noted 70 per cent of all plant species depend upon pollinators, which are under threat by environmental stresses, such as pesticides, pollution and parasites.

RELATED: How worried should we be about Vancouver Island bees?

“It’s part of a movement,” said Shelly Candel, director of Bee City Canada. “It’s across Canada – there’s now 34 cities across Canada – there’s already four in British Columbia, two First Nation communities and Clearwater and Kamloops,”

VIU joins eight universities across Canada that have been awarded Bee Campus designations.

The campus peace garden has been revitalized and will become a haven for bees by growing a variety of plants favoured by pollinating insects. VIU’s sustainability advisory committee and faculty of education contributed $1,000 each to the project.

“This is a demonstration site that we want to show feasibility to be able to scale up to other spaces,” said Chris Brown, education student and president of VIU’s Community Peace Garden. “Because it is a marginal space. It’s the northwest side of the library. We don’t have a great light profile. There’s no irrigation installed right now, but everything is doing well.”

Brown envisions such features as a greenhouse that can tap waste heat from the campus library’s HVAC system vents as part of the garden’s future potential as a demonstration and teaching site. Planning calls for an edible forest on the plot too.

“This garden is multi-disciplinary, so all of the different groups on campus can benefit from this as an educational space.”

The university’s masters of community planning program and the VIU Peace Garden Educational Ecosystem student club are also working together to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators to maintain healthy ecosystems.

Margot Thomaidis, a masters of community planning student in her final year and member of the peace garden club, helped apply for the designation and said the next steps involve building more garden beds, buying plants, increasing soil production and other tasks and hosting gardening basics workshops in early 2020.

“Everything we’re doing, such as increasing biodiversity, is supporting pollinators – there’s that lens – but including as many students as possible when we’re doing it because it’s about awareness. It’s about education,” Thomaidis said.

READ ALSO: Campus buzzes with new honey bee hive at Royal Roads

An immediate goal, she said, is to plant large numbers of flowers that will produce food for bees in the spring.

Kirby Delaney, a VIU masters of community planning graduate, wrote her thesis on the benefits to bees and communities from making space for pollinators in municipalities. She explained how making a space for bees on campus has already brought multiple departments together to focus on and derive educational opportunities from working to achieve the Bee Campus designation.

“It means that, as a university, we’ve made a commitment,” Delaney said. “It means that there was a lot of work behind the scenes to figure out what this program would look like at VIU and lot of student hours, a lot of faculty hours to make all of this actually happen before the designation process could actually begin, so there’s already a lot of research and a lot of manual labour behind it.”

To learn more about VIU’s Bee Campus designation, click here.

For more information on Bee City Canada, visit https://beecitycanada.org/.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

“We need to get to the root of what is actually happening with the RCMP and our communities”

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

Test positivity rates in Greater Victoria from April 23 to 29. (BC CDC data)
Leaked data shows View Royal top of COVID-19 list for Greater Victoria

View Royal mayor says week was a blip for the township, not the norm

The medical clinic building in Port McNeill. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Solution pending to Port McNeill health care uncertainty?

The town appears to be ‘closer to a new and sustainable medical model for our town’

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

Carter Woods was first across the line at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Saturday in Altstadt, Germany. File photo
Cumberland mountain biker wins World Cup race in Germany

First Canadian on the podium since 2013

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

Most Read