Sweet designation is a buzz in Wellesley

Wellesley is to become a bee-friendly community, councillors decided Tuesday night.

Working with the Wellesley Horticultural Society, the township will seek to become one of Canada’s “Bee Cities,” a special designation that will highlight the township as a proponent of the vital little insects.

Wellesley will be applying to Bee City Canada for the special status, and commit itself to protecting its pollinator species. The township would also be required to recognize National Pollinator Week, which falls in the third week of June.

The Wellesley Horticultural Society will take the lead on fulfilling those commitments. Whether that’s through efforts to grow more pollinator flowers at the Wellesley Community Garden, or through educational outreach on the value of bees and other pollinators to the environment.

The idea was brought forward at the last council meeting on April 17 by Marty Schwende and Lorraine Kuepfer, members of the Wellesley Horticultural Society. The goal, they said, was to reverse the longstanding global decline of pollinators, which in turn are necessary for the ecosystem and local food production.

“One of every three bites of food we eat comes from pollinators, so that’s how important it is for us right now,” said Schwende, who tends the Wellesley Community Garden. Schwende helped start a pollinator project at the garden, and noted there were potentially other sites in the township that could support more of the same.

“We, at our meeting, came around to the idea of possibly coming up with a pollinator garden – I came up with that idea amongst are group – and everybody seemed pretty excited and said lets go with it,” said Schwende, adding that he the garden would be done by mid-summer.

Kuepfer said that he was hoping for township to support the application to make Wellesley into a Bee City of Canada.

“The important thing would be to have the backing of the township, the councillors, and then through you we would need to find out what the community groups are in each of the towns that would have members that might be interested,” she said.

Mayor Joe Nowak  wholeheartedly endorsed the idea, and council voted to approve the Bee City application. After speaking with the Region of Waterloo Library, Nowak, who also sits on the library committee, noted that the library would be promoting their own educational project for youth about pollinators.

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