Thursday, November 26, 2009

Well, two awards in two and a half weeks...what can I say, but... whawhoo! and thank you!

I was nominated for, and won, an award for developing environmental awareness, given as part of the Elgin Growing Together program. This is the 'new' county oriented version of Canada Blooms. Elgin being primarily rural, found that the categories dictated by C.I.B. didn't reflect the county accurately.

The award I was given was for my environmental work, art, education, and promotion of sustainable gardening. As you may know my property is certified with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, for more information on things you can do to aid wildlife in general and pollinators specifically go to their web site.

There was an interesting interview on the CBC today about the plight of the bees, the word is getting out, if we all do what we are able, we CAN make a difference.

This is a copy of the handout I took with me and gave to interested people at the banquet.

Did You Know
Many of the small creatures of our summer childhood memories will soon be just that, memories. We can change that, if we act now.
Declines in the health and population of pollinators pose a significant threat to the integrity of bio-diversity, to global food webs, and to human health. Factors which could contribute to declines include: improper use of pesticides and herbicides; habitat fragmentation, loss, and degradation causing a reduction of food sources and sites for mating, nesting, roosting, and migration; aggressive competition from non-native species; disease, predators, and parasites; climate change; and lack of floral diversity. Some Examples:
The number of commercially managed honeybee colonies in the U.S. has declined from 5.9 million in the 1940’’s to 4.3 million in 1985 and 2.7 million in 1995 (Ingram et al., 1996 In Kearns et al., 1998). Feral bees are essentially gone in the U.S. (Watanabe, 1994).
At least 2 bat and 13 bird species listed in the United States as endangered by the Fish and Wildlife Service are pollinators. It remains unknown how many of the listed insects are pollinators or how many listed plants require pollinators (Nabhan, 1996).
At least 82 species of mammalian pollinators and 103 species of avian pollinators are considered threatened or extinct according to IUCN criteria (Nabhan, 1996).
On Ontario’s species at risk list You will find such once common creatures as Monarch Butterflies, frogs, and salamanders.
You Can Help
Do not use pesticides, Hand pick or wash pests off with a strong stream of water. If stronger means are needed a mild solution of dish soap usually is enough. Be aware of who you’re squishing, not all bugs are bad, in fact 80% are either beneficial or benign.
Grow a diverse and predominantly native collection of flowering plants. Such as purple Lupin, Milkweed, golden rod, etc. Grow white clover in your lawn, it’s good for your lawn (fixes nitrogen, crowds out weeds, increases tilth of soil) and good for the pollinators.
Check out the guidelines of, and join, the Back Yard Habitat program of the Canadian Wild Life Federation and create a pollinator oasis.
Tread lightly on the Earth, we are custodians not owners. Your grand and great grand children will thank you.

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