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Lethbridge declared a Bee City, helping promote and protect pollinators

A stock photo shows a bee on a flower. (Pixabay/jbooba) A stock photo shows a bee on a flower. (Pixabay/jbooba)

The City of Lethbridge is buzzing with excitement after being named a Bee City by Bee City Canada.

"Anytime we can talk about bees is a positive time for us," said Megan Evans, president of the Alberta Native Bee Council.

"About 10 per cent of our native bees are rare or declining, and there's another 60 per cent that we don't even have enough information (on) to say how they are doing, which is kind of alarming."

Because it has been named a Bee City, Lethbridge will help protect and promote pollinators and their ecosystems through conservation, education and research.

In May, Coun. Jeff Carlson put forward a motion asking administration to apply for the Bee City designation.

Lethbridge is the seventh municipality in Alberta to be named and 76th in Canada.

"It’s estimated that one out of about three bites of food that we eat come to us thanks to pollinators," said Coreen Putman, manager of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre.

Alberta is home to more than 370 native bee species, but Evans says those numbers are on a downward trend.

"One of the big ones is habitat loss, so those native plants and native ecosystems are really good habitat for native bees, but we convert land and we change it and that's really problematic," she said. "There's things like pesticide poisoning that are problematic and lots of pathogens, pest and predators and diseases."

June 19-25 also marks International Pollinator Week.

The Helen Schuler Nature Centre is celebrating Pollinator Week with a wide range of locally-focused pollinator habitat resources available as part of the Climate Action Station in the current exhibition Sustain-o-topia: Thriving in our Changing Climate.

The Action Station, a key part of the exhibition, encourages visitors to try activities designed to improve our community for both people and wildlife.

Kathleen Sheppard, the executive director of Environment Lethbridge, says there things you can do at your home to help increase the population.

"There’s lots of easy things to do like planting some pollinator-friendly flowers in your yard and it doesn't have to be anything fancy," Sheppard said.

"There's really easy flowers out there that pretty much anyone can so things like sunflowers, chives are another great one. Pollinators love herbs, too."

Opportunity Lethbridge and the City of Lethbridge are re-launching Pollinator Cafes throughout downtown.

The planters feature a range of native plants, signage and a place for pollinators to thrive from.

Putman says caring for pollinators won't just help them, it'll help us too.

"Whether it's physical health or mental health, as we improve our spaces, as we have more naturalized spaces, more bio-diversity, more diversity of plants, more spaces that are soft surfaces rather than hard concrete surfaces - those are all things that benefit pollinators and those also benefit humans as well," Putman said. Top Stories

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