Arrowsmith Naturalists seek town support for declining pollinator insects

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The Arrowsmith Naturalists club is seeking support from the Town of Qualicum Beach on a project to promote preservation of pollinator insects through community gardens and public awareness.

“They are not as visible as polar bears or reindeer or anything like that, so they don’t get very much mention and once they have disappeared, our food security is going to be in grave danger,” said Rosemary Taylor, a club member who provided a delegation to town council at its March 17 meeting.

She said she would like to see the town create a communities in bloom event, which could include awards for the best pollinator-friendly gardens. She would also like to see the town plant wild gardens on unused land.

“We want to leave more natural areas everywhere, not to pave over paradise and we need to let these sort of native plants grow” she said. “This isn’t just a frivolous presentation of a nature-based interest, it’s a really serious matter that we should all consider.”

She also suggested people sprinkle seeds on their lawns, so pollinating plants can grow “[Lawns] don’t do anything for the environment, they just look nice and people seem happy because they like to keep a lawn and keep it weed free, but it’s not something that the pollinators will be attracted to.”

People can also plant small gardens on their patios, Taylor said. She expressed concern about the effects pesticides have on pollinators, but town staff said Qualicum Beach has bylaws to prevent their use. 

Coun. Scott Harrison suggested bringing the issue of declining pollinator insects to the Regional District of Nanaimo because harmful chemicals could be used on farm land, outside the town’s jurisdiction.

“There isn’t a huge amount the town can do that we are not already doing beyond spending a lot more money on our parks budget, which we could do, but that money does have to come from somewhere,” he said.

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