A Bee City Campus
One third of our food supply depends on pollination by bees. If they don’t survive, we don’t survive. Bee City Canada, part of an agency dedicated to taking global action to protect pollinators, designated the University of Guelph as Canada’s second Bee City Campus. This award reflects U of G’s international reputation as a leader in pollinator health and conservation, built on 125 years of study and advocacy.
The Grounds Department, in partnership with the Nigel Raine Lab for Pollinator Health & Conservation, has been working diligently to identify opportunities to change campus grounds management practices to improve pollinator health. This includes enhancing the tree canopy with flowering tree species and integrating pollinator-friendly plants in campus landscape. And long before provincial bans took effect, the University and Grounds Department voluntarily banned herbicides and pesticides with negative impacts on pollinator health.
The Grass Is Greener
A student passes a garden of pollinator-friendly plants in bright U of G red-and-gold colours on her way to lecture. Sugar maple tree leaves rustle above her. A yellow warbler nests nearby. She walks through the conservatory gardens during lunch. She takes in the beauty.
It’s in abundance on campus. In fact, it’s award-winning. In 2017 the University of Guelph won the Professional Grounds Manager Society Best Urban Campus GRAND AWARD for the entire eastern half of North America. That beauty is honoured and upheld by sustainable practices like the use of battery-operated yard equipment, using natural source, low-risk pesticides such as iron, vinegar and soap, and composting 1,800 tonnes of manure and animal bedding for fertilizing campus grounds. Our campus is not only green, it’s beautiful too.
Rooting for Trees
Right here on campus there are more than 6,500 trees – 140 were planted in 2019 alone. The Grounds Department nurtures and sustains a campus tree canopy comprised of thousands of trees across hundreds of species. Climate change threatens the health of urban tree canopies as the environment the trees are used to is gradually changing. The Tree Maintenance & Protection Plan anticipates those changes and works to ensure a healthy tree canopy for years to come. A walk through an urban forest adjacent to your university campus is a gift, and the path to preserve it is one we’re not diverging from.