The Niagara Restoration Council (NRC) will restore the habitat necessary for bumblebees and other pollinators to successfully maintain a healthy population in the Niagara Region. Bumblebees and other pollinators are becoming increasingly threatened due to habitat loss, fragmentation, pesticide use, non-native species and diseases. Pollinators are a keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems because of the services they provide to flowering plants for reproduction.
The project sites will support habitat for nesting, foraging and overwintering, by planting native wildflowers and restoring habitat, as well educating the public about less toxic approaches and embracing a natural unmanicured lawn. Municipal parks are the ideal site to implement wildflower garden projects because the bumblebees need a specific habitat to live which allows close proximity to food sources. The NRC will plant large (750 sq ft) wildflower garden plots in parks that will remain in bloom from April to October. Native plants will be used throughout to encourage total ecosystem health and education in the park. The wildflower plantings in these parks will provide an all-encompassing habitat which can fulfil all the foraging necessities of the bees; providing a diverse, year round nectar and pollen supply.
The NRC intends to involve the community in the restoration process through volunteer planting days, bumblebee house building, non-native species removal and weeding, site and species monitoring, public signage and information sessions. These community and school participation days will educate on the significance and encourage best practices for bee species and other pollinators.