British Columbia

Vancouver pilot project aims to create native grass and wildflower meadows in 18 city parks

The Vancouver Park Board is trying foster growth of native grasses and flowering plants to attract more bees, butterflies and birds across the city by creating meadows in parks, golf courses and boulevards.

Vancouver Park Board says more natural landscapes will require less grass cutting, attract more bees

A bee collects pollen from a Golden Rod flower in Empire Fields park in Vancouver. (David Horemans/CBC)

The Vancouver Park Board is trying foster growth of native grasses and flowering plants to attract more bees, butterflies and birds by creating meadows in parks, golf courses and boulevards across the city this year.

 About 37 hectares have been ear-marked to become naturally managed landscapes which means that less grass and flora will be cut.

Green Party Park Board Commissioner Dave Demers introduced the motion for the pilot project.

"A recent report provides evidence that intense lawn management practices are responsible for increasing pests and diminishing abundance and diversity of invertebrates and flora, which provide critical nesting habitat and food sources for birds," said Demers.

The park board said in a news release that signs will be posted to make people aware of the new meadows and to encourage exploration through pathways and trails.

The city is hoping that better soil microbes will improve the health of trees and create environments that can handle changing climate better.

Garden manager for Hives for Humanity Paula Cruise explained that urban beekeeping is becoming more popular, so it's important for bee health to have areas where they can easily find pollen and nectar in a diversity of flowers.  

"The proximity of flower meadows to the city will also connect the urban population with nature, enhancing our understanding of bee conservation and the actions we can all take to provide forage and habitat for pollinators," said Cruise.

The City of Vancouver has more than 230 parks that make up about 11 per cent of its landmass. Park Board staff  is expected to compile a report with a summary of data, outcomes, and observations from the meadows' pilot.

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