12 Days of Christmas Spirit for Mother Nature – Day 11

Category: Fun Stuff, Newsletter

For Day 11 of the 12 Days of Christmas Spirit for Mother Nature I’d like to focus on bees, and the importance that bees have in our local ecosystems when it comes to plant growth and pollinating local plants to ensure a healthy growth process.

Here are two more great ideas that give back to Mother Nature directly and help our local bees thrive. These ideas are simple and easy, and one that young children will have fun helping you with.

Bee Crazy

Here are some fun Bee facts:

The Bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man. Source:  Canadian Association of Professional Agriculturalists, Statement on Honey Bee Colony Losses (2015).

Bees have good colour vision. That’s why flowers are so showy. They especially like blue, purple, violet, white and yellow. Source- Suzuki, David. “Create a bee-friendly garden”. David Suzuki Foundation

prairie crocus in the mountains
Praire Crocus – a native Alberta plant, ideal for bees.
fireweed flowers in the mountains
Bees love fireweed. Some beekeepers make fireweed honey.

The honey bee’s wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to nine kilometres, and as fast as twenty-five kilometres per hour.   Source – 20 Amazing Honey Bee Facts!.

firewood honey
expensive but yummy!

There has been a lot in the news about the decline of our bees.  There are several reasons for this, one being the use of pesticides and fungicides and the other being the Varro Mite, a blood-sucking parasite that can kill off an entire bee colony. 

The danger of losing the bee population means that our local wildlife and flora and fauna will not be able to sustain itself without the bees for pollination. This is bad news for our provincial and national parks who rely on the pollination process for plant growth. As an added caution: we rely on bees to pollinate our food sources as well! If the bee population continues to dwindle, it will also affect our supply of fresh fruit and vegetables.

varro mite
Varro Mite – a parasite that is attacking honey bee colonies

Want to help keep the bees healthy? 

Create a pollinator garden.  There is scientific evidence that digging and playing in the dirt is beneficial for children, so have them help you help plant the flower seeds in the garden.  A pollinator garden just isn’t for the honey bees, but for all the different species of bees and pollinators in North America.

The more colourful, the better! Planting indigenous plants will also ensure better growth success for your garden.

gardens and merrit lake
picture from the Gardens at Merrit Lake.

Now that your garden is done, make a bee bath.

Better yet, make two and gift one, the only thing the recipient of this gift needs to do is add water!  

how to make a bee bath
Bee Bath, photo from the Queen of Green

If you want to find out more bee facts, and how you can help #bringbackthebees, check out the Honey Nut Cheerios site.

Green Your Hood

Apart from helping bees, there are many other ways to help your local community and neighbourhood thrive. Something as simple as organizing a “pick up garbage in your neighbourhood” day is a great first step – just do something that will help Mother Nature and in the process of doing so, you will help create the next generation of environmental stewards.

Happy Hiking!

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