Pollinators are insects, birds or mammals that spread pollen from one plant to another as they navigate flowers for food. Pollinators are an integral part of any ecosystem and are critical for human food production. One out of every three bites of food we eat are thanks to pollinators (www.pollinator.org). Without them we wouldn’t have many of our fruits and vegetables, or honey!
Common pollinators in the Severn Sound watershed include Monarch Butterflies, Bumble Bees, Miner Bees, and Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, to name a few. Other pollinators include bats, moths, flies and even ants!
SSEA supports member municipalities in their pollinator initiatives by assisting with plant community surveys, invasive species removal, and site restoration suggestions and implementation.
SSEA also supports SSEA members who have become a “Bee City” which they identify as part of their Bee City Canada membership. Bee City Canada offers programs to recognize communities and organizations that are taking steps or are committed to future initiative to help pollinations. In the Severn Sound Watershed, the Town of Midland and Townships of Severn, Georgian Bay, and Tiny are Bee Cities.
Depave Paradise Program
In 2021/22, the SSEA was a delivery partner for the Depave Paradise Program (by Green Communities Canada), which focuses on transforming paved areas of at least 100 m2 to greenspace, which can include pollinator friendly habitats. Hard surfaces such as pavement and cement have negative impacts on water quality by increasing stormwater runoff into waterways, which can carry sediment and pollutants with it. Depaving creates permeable surfaces to promote the infiltration of stormwater. The SSEA planted a pollinator garden in Honey Harbour Park (Township of Georgian Bay) with over 20 native pollinator-attracting wildflowers, grasses, trees and shrubs, to provide habitat as well as a buffer around the existing pond to further filter stormwater.
Species were planted at Honey Harbour Park
- Basswood (Tilia Americana)
- Black Cherry (Prunus serotine)
- Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)
- Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
- Chokecherries (Prunus virginiana)
- Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
- Highbursh Cranberry (Viburnum opulus var. americanum formerly Viburnum trilobum)
- New Jersery Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
- Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
- Black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
- Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
- Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)
- Blue Vervain (Verbena hastate)
- Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)
- Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Canada Anemone (Anemonastrum canadense)
- Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
- Dense Blazingstar (Liatris spicata)
- Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
- Field Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)
- Flat-topped Aster (Doellingeria umbellate)
- Gray-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
- Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
- Lance-leaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolate)
- New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
- Oswego Tea (Monarda didyma)
- Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
- Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)
- Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
- Upland White Goldenrod (Solidago ptarmicoides)
- Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
- Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
The Depave Paradise project has received generous support from Green Communities Canada, the Township of Georgian Bay and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
As part of the Bee City initiative, the SSEA and the Town of Midland are working together to establish no-mow and reduced-mow zones. These zones will encourage habitat for pollinators by allowing plants to flower before cutting them down, while also limiting pollution ranging from noise to greenhouse gas emissions. The SSEA helps support the Town in this initiative by providing outreach and education to the community and providing technical expertise.
Project 4 Pollinators
Through this project, SSEA is developing pollinator kits that will be given out at various community events, and also be available from Bee City member municipalities. These kits will include pollinator garden seed packets, No-Mow lawn flags, native plant guides, and pollinator handbooks. The Projects for Pollinators initiative has received generous support from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.