1. Enhance your landscapes and grounds
When natural spaces are limited, creating habitat is the next best thing. In a city landscape of buildings and parking lots, a patch of wildflowers or flowering shrubs can be an oasis for a foraging pollinator. If you or contracted landscaper manage a the greenspace around your establishment, consider the following to become more pollinator-friendly.
- Plant food sources and forage around your establishment
- Planting a variety of species of native plants in the landscape to ensure something is in bloom from spring to fall, and that the right food is available for our native pollinators. Click here to see a list of pollinator-friendly plants and when they bloom.
- If native plants are hard to find, you can choose to grow greenhouse varieties that are descendants of local species. You can also mix in native plants with your favourite garden annuals. Be sure to avoid plants that have been treated with pesticides. Ask your local garden centre for more information.
- Provide shelter for pollinators
- Natural areas, flowering trees and shrubs, and wildflower gardens are excellent spaces for pollinators to find places to build nests, rest, or avoid predators.
- Leave your garden “bee” in the Fall. Pollinators require an insulating layer of fallen grasses, branches, and leaves to survive the winter.
- In the spring, wait until the last frost and give pollinators some time to emerge before cleaning up for planting.
- Protect your pollinators
- Say goodbye to weeds in a pollinator friendly way! Use landscaping techniques such as mulching, hand weeding, and close the spacing between your plantings so weeds don’t have a chance to grow.
- Avoid pesticides as much as possible. Weed and insect killers kill pollinators too. Apply them only as a last resort, following manufacturer directions.
2. Raise awareness
Many people are unaware of the issues facing pollinators and their essential role in our ecosystems and everyday lives. Businesses have a unique opportunity to show how urban landscapes can protect our pollinators. By raising awareness, you can motivate people to take action and be part of the solution in our province.
- Talk to your building managers, landlords and developers
- Making a landscape pollinator-friendly is easy to do. It takes a little planning and a slight change in landscape maintenance practices. By providing building managers, landlords and developers with information on pollinators and their habitat requirements, they will be able to take action on their landscapes. Click here to learn how to create a simple prairie pollinator garden.
- Raise awareness with your customers and encourage action
- Use your pollinator-friendly landscapes as an educational tool. Promoting your garden may include: adding educational signage; including park benches in your landscape so people can appreciate your efforts; use the landscape if hosting a customer appreciation event, etc.
- Participate in the #BeeBetterChallenge through Instagram. Click here to learn how.
- Partner with local pollinator groups
- Share your experiences and learn from others who specialize in pollinator protection. Sharing information will help to strengthen your landscaping practices and advance pollinator habitat in the Province. Click here to see a list of local pollinator groups.
- Tell your public representatives that pollinator health is important
- Stay up to date on pollinator friendly issues facing your community and provide this information to public representatives to advance pollinator protection in public policy. Invite local representatives to visit your landscape and outline the features that make it pollinator-friendly.
- Fund research and conservation
Look for opportunities to support research and conservation activities going on within the community such as sponsoring pollinator-friendly events, donating to conservation/education programs that advocate pollinator health, etc.
- Pollinator friendly giveaways/promotional materials
Instead of conventional promotional material giveaways, consider handing out pollinator-related products such as native prairie seeds, seeded paper, etc.
3. Adopt Sustainable Practices
Businesses play a key role in minimizing environmental impacts such as climate change and biodiversity loss. They do this by implementing green building practices and purchasing sustainable goods and services. Incorporating sustainable thinking into business decisions reconnects businesses with nature and the importance of protecting ecosystems. It all comes down to the choices we make.
- Consider getting your building green certified (e.g. BOMA BESt, LEED)
- To obtain green building certifications, the owner must consider the environment from the design phase to its operation. This means improving energy and water efficiency, purchasing sustainable building materials, incorporating/enhancing green spaces and unique features like green roofs are considered. By building or operating to these standards, an owner is able to reduce their carbon emissions and environmental impact, as well as add habitat. All of which are “wings” for our pollinators!
- Below are recognized green building certifications:
- Purchase goods and services that reduce environmental impact
Look for products that bear third-party certifications such as Ecologo certified cleaning products; Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper products; certified Organic bananas; Rainforest Alliance Tea; Fairtrade certified coffee and cocoa and; EPEAT certified TVs and computers. Standards behind these labels help to reduce pollution, protect our water resources, and reduce biodiversity loss, thus enabling you to use your purchasing power to support pollinator protection at the global level. Learn more about sustainable procurement by going to the Sustainable Procurement in Manitoba website.
- Reduce carbon emissions
Increased carbon emissions are changing how the natural world behaves. Some of the effects of climate change include severe, unpredictable, or unseasonable weather conditions, increased rains and flooding, extended droughts, intense wildfires, and an increase in invasive species. Climate change is altering the habitats where pollinators are found. By implementing green building practices such as reducing energy consumption and purchasing sustainable goods and services, you are helping to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and therefore reducing impact on our pollinators.