The Canadian Wildlife Federation poster is free to download or to order as a paper copy.

We hear a lot about bees these days, how they are struggling to survive and how important they are to our food sources. Fortunately they are not the only pollinators. June 20-26th was Pollinator Week which brought awareness to the plight and positive actions being taken on behalf of these very important insects and winged creatures.
Pollinators are yes bees but also beetles, birds, bats, butterflies, flies, moths and even some small mammals.
Some facts from the David Suzuki website:

  • Insects makes up 2/3 of all life on earth
  • Insects are a key food source for birds and fish and play a vital role in forests and fields as decomposers.
  • Over three-quarters of wild flowering plants and one-third of the food we eat depend on insect pollination. Think about it that is one out of every three bites of food we eat!
  • More than 800 species of wild bees live in Canada.
  • If we want to talk dollars and cents, pollinators add 233 billion dollars to the global economy, and honey bees alone are responsible for between 395 million dollars in agricultural productivity in Ontario. (

The problem stems from the loss of meadow & wildflower habitat, pollution and the use of chemicals.

Last month we spoke about connectivity and the importance of conserving connected tracts of land to help wildlife migrate and move between various habitats. Think about this for insects and pollinators, the importance of gardens as a stepping stone to the bigger open pastures and fields. Up to 80% of Canadians live in urban centres. Gardens are havens. The open fields under electric towers, the un-mowed ditches on the sides of roads and railroads also create a much needed habitat. By planting native species we can learn about nature and help increase biodiversity around our homes. Even potted plants on balconies that reflect the ecosystems around them contribute. These small acts of conservation can have a huge ripple effect.
To learn more about how NCC supports Small Acts of Conservation, such as planting native plants, click here.Everyone can play a role by planting native species, reducing or better yet eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers, leaving lawns uncut in May when dandelions welcome the first Spring insects. (Read more about this initiative of the Nature Conservancy of Canada). Resisting the urge to clean out the dead leaves and old branches in order to create nesting spaces in the fall helps to create an over the winter habitat for native insects, pollinators and other backyard wildlife. Think of the forest floor which comes alive in the Spring as the wildlife wakes up from hibernation. Those leaves on the ground had a purpose.
What else can we do to help besides planting native species and creating spaces for nesting and hibernation?

  • Turn your lawn into a garden
  • Leave more lawn un-mowed
  • Think about water for the insects. A bird bath or pond may be too deep. A saucer or lid filled with a few stones (connectivity and to help them have a landing place) with fresh water is a good idea.
  • Support your local conservation organisations
  • Speak to your municipal government about changing the dates they mow the ditches, or leaving more municipal land untended or better yet creating more community garden spaces.

The Massawippi Conservation Trust has 1200 acres under conservation. Not all of it is forest, there are some fields and streams with wetlands that play host to so many insects and wild things. If you go for a slow walk along the trails in Scowen Park you will see in the uncut fields, insects moving from flower to flower. We have seen at the park and on the conserved lands, Daisies, Buttercups, Herb-Robert, Two leaved Toothwort, Northern Starflowers, Clover, Orange Hawkweed (also known as Devil’s Paintbrush!)  to name a few! Precious biodiversity!