Introducing the Community Pollinator Foundation

The Community Pollinator Foundation (CPF), a not-for profit organisation, will work as a steward for public education and research on urban native pollinator species. Through collaboration with the Calgary Zoo and Dr. Robin Owen of Mount Royal University, the CPF hopes to showcase the challenges facing native pollinators through public-access programming and community research projects identifying bee speciation and regionalization.

The Community Pollinator Foundation strives to encourage all-ages participation in supporting and saving native bee populations  through educational programming and research. Native pollinators are faced with serious challenges in the urban setting from  habitat destruction and pesticide use. The CPF is  focused on combating these issues by coordinating public awareness campaigns through educational installations. It emerged as  Eliese Watson, Director of the CPF and founder of Apiaries and Bees for Communities (A.B.C), became aware of increasing public  interest in the welfare of pollinators globally. The Community Pollinator Foundation will also lead the way in protecting the threatened pollinators by spearheading volunteer coordinated research on bumblebee populations.

The Community Pollinator Foundation is pleased to offer a range of educational programs for all ages and interests in and around the city of Calgary. The Resonating Bodies installation at the Calgary Zoo is a pilot project identifying public response to native solitary pollinators. The CPF is also developing the community volunteer-run Bumblebee Rescue and Foster Parent Program, which will encourage community members to identify bumblebee species and participate in rescuing bumblebees at risk of being destroyed through domestic development. The programs aim to create healthier and more sustainable pollinator habitats within the city’s limits by encouraging public action and participation.

What is the Bumblebee Rescue and Foster Parent Program?
The Bumblebee Rescue and Foster Parent Program was developed by A.B.C. and will be launched by the Community Pollinator Foundation. Throughout A.B.C.’s initial year of programming, media coverage on a local and national level brought increased attention to worrying trends affecting honeybees and native pollinators. In addition, the plight of the honeybee was covered internationally as the farmed species seemed to be disappearing. On a local level, Calgarians became concerned for the welfare of pollinators. As a result, A.B.C received dozens of calls throughout the summer of 2010 from concerned citydwellers who had come across bumble bee colonies set in problematic locations within their yards, but the homeowners did not want to hurt the special  insects. Unfortunately, A.B.C did not yet have the capacity to rescue the colonies and seek out new locations.

From this need came the solution! Throughout the winter season of 2010, A.B.C developed the Bumblebee Rescue and Foster Parent Program. This is a project focused on rescuing potentially disturbed or destroyed bumblebee colonies from urban spaces, and  connecting the colonies with new and loving homes within the urban community. The rescued colonies are placed in to manmade
bee boxes and delivered to a registered bumblebee foster parent within the same community of their original location. The rescuer and the foster parent are responsible for filling out the required research documents on populations, locations and speciation to assist in data collection and monitoring of bumblebees within the city of Calgary. This research will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of bumblebee health and distribution within the city, and will contribute to a research project spearheaded by the CPF in partnership with Dr. Robin Owen of Mount Royal University. This project is volunteer-dependent and is in need of funds for development and facilitation of bee boxes, bumblebee rescue and foster parent coordination, and research management and  compilation. This 2011 season will be the inaugural year for the Bumblebee Rescue and Foster Parent Program, and we are eager to share this project with the Calgary community!

What is the Resonating Bodies project?
Resonating Bodies is a series of integrated media installations and community outreach projects which focuses on biodiversity
of pollinators indigenous to the natural and urban ecosystems. It was designed by Sarah Peebles, a Toronto artist. The Resonating
Bodies installation allows for the observer to watch the solitary bees work in making their nest meanwhile listening to their motions through the earphones. The nest is adapted to allow for all resonating sounds created by the bees to be amplified for the listener’s enjoyment. The Community Pollinator Foundation is bringing this fantastic installation to the Calgary Zoo in 2011.

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5 responses to “Introducing the Community Pollinator Foundation

  1. Pingback: Bumblebee Rescue and Foster Parent Program | The Bug Whisperer·

  2. Pingback: Can You Babysit a Bumblebee? | Gardening Zone 3b·

  3. My son and I have a great love of nature, gardening and pollinators. My ex and Leo’s (my sons) father was a beekeeper and we have both helped him extensively with hive care in the past.
    We would love to be foster parents to beautiful little bumblebees if you require families in the downtown area (Ramsay) by the Stampede grounds and Elbow river.
    We keep a diverse garden with lots of fruit bushes and trees, indigenous and native flowering annuals and perennials and just lots of great plants the bees would like.
    Plus we have relaxed, cool and garden oriented neighbors.
    Feel free to call or email
    Megan and Leo
    H403 232 65127
    C403 585 8587


  4. Pingback: Calgary Bees on The Discovery Channel « Apiaries and Bees for Communities·

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