Bee-friendly garden coming to campus

TRUSU Eco Club awarded $5000 to create bee-friendly garden

TRU’s new bee garden, which will start this summer, will be situated between the Science Building and the Old Gym at the location pictured above. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

Do you like bees? Then you’re in luck, thanks to the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Grant. The TRUSU Eco Club has been awarded $5000 to create a bee-friendly garden that will focus on giving habitat to the native bees that face an uphill battle on campus for places to call home.

Every year $100,000 is up for grabs for students and staff to make projects that make the campus a more sustainable place. Created in 2013, the Sustainability Grant has funded a variety of projects including the solar compass, the community sweat lodge and the efficient hand dryers, as well as many more. All project proposals are approved by the Sustainability Office. Most of the capital of this project’s funding comes from the parking levy across campus.

“It’s fantastic that the Sustainability Office sets money aside for grants such as these, as over the years this fund has enabled some really amazing eco-friendly projects to come to light,” said Eco Club President Valerie Law, who led the grant application. “I am excited that our bee-friendly garden will soon materialize on our campus.”

Law added that putting the project together has been no easy task.

“Putting together an application of this scale takes a lot of collaboration. For this project we were incredibly lucky to have the Eco Club, the faculty of science (represented by Lyn Baldwin) and the EUReKA! Science Program all join together in the creation of the proposal,” Law said. “We also had valuable input from a variety of other sources including horticulture and TRU Facilities. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm for this project and this experience really solidified my belief that multi-discipline collaboration adds so much value to any eco-friendly venture such as this.”

The project’s goal is to plant in the underutilized garden beds surrounding the Ken Lepin Science building (Science Beds #15 and 17-21, on the southwest side of the building, between the Science Building and the Gym) with native and non-native plant species beneficial for native bees.

Besides being of use to native bees in the area, Law says she is also excited about the educational benefits the bee garden presents.

“What I am excited to see is all the multi-faceted benefits of our bee-friendly garden evolve. Not only is this area the first of its kind at TRU, as it will focus on attracting native bees to our campus, but it will also offer an educational space to look at the difference between native and naturalized plant species and be a relaxing green space which everyone can enjoy,” Law said. “My hope with this project is that it will foster further discussions on how we can incorporate natural landscapes into our urban areas and bring appreciation to the diversity of the native flora and fauna that surround us!”

Construction of the bee-friendly garden will start in the summer of 2018 and employ one student to take care of it over the summer months. Science students will use the garden as a place to learn more about the environment, insects and plant species.