May 20 is World Bee Day. The United Nations reports that “Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats, and hummingbirds, are under threat from human activities. Nearly 90% of the world’s wild flowering plant species, more than 75% of the world’s food crops, and 35% of global agricultural land depend on animal pollination. The goal is to strengthen measures to protect pollinators, thus contributing to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.”
The Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project website explains that BC is home to more than 400 species of native bees, as well as a managed population of honeybees. “Since the 1990s [there has been] a decline in native bees, attributed to stressors, including habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species, and climate change.” They encourage residents to raise the local Blue Orchard Mason Bee, a native pollinator. Some of you may have attended the Mason Bee house building workshops held by the SCWP this year. You can also plant pollinator-friendly gardens of native plant species.
Following the recent devastating 90 per cent honeybee loss to our Sunshine Coast beekeepers, local beekeeper Keith McEwen and his wife Caitlin McEwen (from Let it Bee Farmstand) started the Let It Bee Community Collective. This initiative helps motivate young people to become involved in beekeeping and makes it more affordable by sharing equipment costs with the collective. They are currently hosting backyard hive inspections Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in Halfmoon Bay. To learn about beekeeping or to become a property host, contact Keith at Letitbeecollective@gmail.com or via Instagram @letitbeecommunitycollective. A GoFundMe has been established to raise money for equipment and education through the One Straw Society. To donate, click on this link https://gofund.me/7430b105
Speaking of honeybees, Steve Clifford is a master beekeeper in Halfmoon Bay. He has kept bees commercially for more than 50 years. He and partner Margaret Webb own Halfmoon Honey, selling 100 per cent pure, raw and unfiltered honey. Steve has bee yards in various locations in ts’ukw’um, West Sechelt, Halfmoon Bay. He took up candle-making and now makes many different kinds of candles, all 100 per cent pure beeswax, no additives. Contact Steve at 604-885-9664 or Margaret Webb through Facebook to order products.
May 20 also highlights another native species – Pacific salmon. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the annual Salmon Release Festival takes place at Chapman Creek. Come and help with the release of salmon fry into the creek! This family-friendly event includes arts and crafts, archery demonstration, food concession, and a fly-tying demonstration by Sean “The Fish Whisperer”, scavenger hunt, and much more. shíshálh Nation will open the festival and provide a blessing to the salmon.
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