Pollinator Habitat

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!

Pollination is a plant process by which pollen is transferred from one plant to another to enable seed formation. Pollination is the first step in producing fruits and vegetables. Healthy native plant reproduction helps maintain soil health and sequesters greenhouse gases. Plants cannot move, so they rely on wind, water, and pollinators to move their pollen around.
Why protect and restore pollinator habitat? Human population growth and urban sprawl can fragment pollinator habitat. Native plant diversity is key for thriving pollinator populations. As communities and development spread into land previously occupied by meadows and forests, the altered landscape can result in reduced native species diversity and an increase in non-native species. Actions that help increase, restore and protect pollinator habitat include setting aside park land as pollinator habitat, establishing no-mow or reduced mow zones, and creating nature corridors through landscapes. Planting and maintaining native species that support pollinators in home gardens and lawns is highly encouraged and a great way to protect native pollinators.

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 Penetanguishene, Town of Midland and Townships of SevernGeorgian Bay, and Tiny are Bee Cities.

Bumble Bee on New England Aster
Pollinator Example: Bumble Bee on New England Aster
Green Metallic Sweat Bee on Butterfly Milkweed
Pollinator Example: Green Metallic Sweat Bee on Butterfly Milkweed
Monarch Butterfly on New England Aster
Pollinator Example: Monarch Butterfly on New England Aster

Native Pollinator Plants in the Severn Sound Area

Gardening For Pollinators in the Severn Sound Area

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 increas​ing 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)​

Who support

The Depave Paradise project has received generous support from Green Communities Canada, the Township of Georgian Bay and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Depave Paradise
Green Communities Canada
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
Township of Georgian Bay

Reduced-Mow Midland

​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.

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