In cities many bees have been pushed out of their natural habitat by urban development. The remaining bees end up living in "islands" within the city: meadows, naturalised parks and community gardens. They then have to move between these "islands" through trails of green space in which they feel comfortable. This is not easy.
Last year, a group called the Environmental Youth Alliance, partnering with the City of Vancouver, and local residents and schools, began to develop a plan to facilitate habitat for pollinators, and The Nectar Trail is happening in our neighbourhood with a corridor linking VanDusen Gardens to Queen Elizabeth Park.
On our regular walks the past year to VanDusen we've noticed a wild space of flowers along West 37th Avenue, near Oak Meadows Park, along with something called the Insect Hotel (a telephone booth re-used). Along with the off-leash area for dogs and a popular playing field, the park has been naturalised to the benefit of not just bees, but other wildlife too. One night we watched as two young owls learned to hunt.
The Nectar Trail project only began last year, though much advance work was needed to bring it to life. It is a fantastic example of what can happen when great ideas and good people come together for an even greater common good.
Photos by Jim Murray.