Calgary

From birds to bees, U of C celebrates role pollinators play in biodiverse communities

Bees, butterflies, birds and even bats all play a big role in pollinating plants and maintaining biodiversity, and the University of Calgary wants to celebrate those creatures.

They play an important role, but some species are declining

Amanda Mosca is the coordinator of sustainability engagement at the University of Calgary. She's pictured in the campus community garden. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Bees, butterflies, birds and even bats all play a big role in pollinating plants and maintaining biodiversity, and the University of Calgary wants to celebrate those creatures.

The university is marking national pollinator week, which runs from June 17 to 23, by giving people the chance to build their own bee boxes out of wood and cotton on Wednesday.

"Most of the native bees we have here in Calgary live in the ground," says instructor Mindi Summers. "So this box kind of mirrors that kind of habitat."

Summers said the boxes are a great place for bees to overwinter. 

The university is hoping to showcase ways Calgarians can encourage pollinators to visit their gardens, by making sure there's plenty of food (native flowers), water and shelter.

The majority of flowering plant species and crops need the help of animals or insects for fertilization, and those species can be critical to ecosystems. 

In Alberta, many native bee species are declining.

"Populations are declining so we're encouraging people to come out and learn," said Amanda Mosca with the university, sitting in the campus' community garden on Monday.

Mosca said if people can plant flowers that bloom throughout the season, that will ensure pollinators have a consistent food source all summer. 

With files from Monty Kruger

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