Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

The Magazine Of Queen's University

2017 Issue 4: How we learn

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Conservation biology in action

Conservation biology in action

[illustration of a bee]
Sarah Pierroz

In September, after a semester of planning and fundraising, the Society for Conservation Biology Kingston Chapter (SCB Kingston) unveiled a new living space just outside the BioSciences Complex on Arch Street. This space, with three tiny bee houses nestled among carefully chosen native plants, has already attracted its new tenants ... solitary bees. This is Queen's first pollination garden. It's a new addition to the native plant garden started by SCB Kingston in 2003. Support for the new garden was provided by the AMS, Queen's Players, and Succuterra.

[illustration of twining flowers with pollen]
(Illustration by Sarah Pierroz)

Bee houses provide shelter where bees can lay their eggs, safe from predators.

Ontario is home to about 400 types of bees, most of whom are solitary bees.

Solitary bees, as their name suggests, have neither queens nor colonies. Prolific pollinators, they are very docile and rarely sting.

The Queen's pollination garden contains:

  • Dutchman's Breeches
  • Violet
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Ox-eye Sunflower
  • Beard tongue
  • Goldenrod
  • Blue Phlox
  • Common Milkweed
  • Silverweed
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Giant Blue Hyssop
  • Woodland Sunflower
  • Blue Vervain
  • Butterfly Weed

Key to attracting and keeping pollinators in an area is including nectar-rich plants that bloom at different times, from spring's first violets to Butterfly Weed, which can bloom well into September.

Not just a refuge for bees, the pollination garden is also used as a teaching and research space. Members of SCB Kingston include students from across campus interested in active participation in local conservation initiatives. Among the group's activities are a shoreline cleanup along Lake Ontario, organized hikes, and educational activities for local elementary school classes.

[cover graphic of Queen's Alumni Review, issue 4-2017]