Shawn Johnston wants to generate more buzz at UBC Farm – from bees. In a recent study, Johnston looked at just how bee-friendly UBC Farm is for native pollinators such as Bumblebees and Blue Orchard Mason Bees.
Johnston catalogued trees and plants in and around UBC Farm and hedgerows, finding bee-positive plants such as alder, blackberry bushes, salal, crab apple and Japanese Flowering Cherry.
“UBC Farm shows strong potential for both pollinator food sources and habitat with its diverse crops and healthy surrounding ecosystem,” says Johnston, who completed the research for his fourth-year Agroecology studies earlier this year and is currently enrolled in the UBC Faculty of Law.
Johnston adds, “The recent worldwide collapse of honeybee colonies has shown us that the health of our food system is essentially linked to pollinators.”
His study recommends enhancing bee habitat through wooden bee houses and bright “pollinator” gardens with blooms such as orange tiger lilies and pink-purple asters.
Johnston also recommends further study on the role and needs of native bees, for instance, what would be the best rotation of crops and gardens to provide bees with nectar and pollen through the seasons.