In the spring of 2016, a small team of enthu­si­as­tic Kelow­na gar­den­ers, engi­neers, per­ma­cul­tur­ists, land­scap­ers, ecol­o­gists, plant spe­cial­ists, and artists gath­ered to begin think­ing about how we will cre­ate Kelowna’s Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture. We agreed to col­lab­o­rate, co-gen­er­ate knowl­edge, and achieve col­lec­tive impact for our com­mu­ni­ty through a com­mu­ni­ty-gen­er­at­ed cur­ricu­lum: a mul­ti-step method or mod­el for mead­ow-build­ing that can be upscaled or down­sized for oth­er places in the South­ern Inte­ri­or or else­where with sim­i­lar ecosys­tem chal­lenges. We would cre­ate a cur­ricu­lum or mod­el method around trans­form­ing high­ly dis­turbed land into pol­li­na­tor mead­ows.

  • Cre­ate a true sanc­tu­ary for bees and oth­er native pol­li­na­tors (no chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides, fer­til­iz­ers, her­bi­cides)
  • Make it a rain gar­den- rely only on rain, not irri­ga­tion
  • Stew­ard the soil
  • Stew­ard the creek and ripar­i­an zones
  • Enhance the site’s aes­thet­ic appeal
  • Find ways to invite peo­ple to learn about pol­li­na­tors
  • Find ways to engage or not alien­ate home­less peo­ple on creek­side
  • Focus on native plants but not be puri­tan­i­cal
  • Include art as a method
  • Include sci­en­tif­ic research
  • Repur­pose or recy­cle mate­ri­als as much as pos­si­ble
  • Hon­our indige­nous knowl­edge and his­to­ry
  • Hon­our vol­un­teers, chil­dren and par­tic­i­pants
  • Ensure core group of knowl­edge-shar­ers are com­pen­sat­ed for time and exper­tise where appro­pri­ate
  • Everyone’s knowl­edge and con­tri­bu­tion is acknowl­edged and appre­ci­at­ed

Over the next two years, our plan is cre­ate a “cur­ricu­lum” or series of cours­es that could be taught to or giv­en to groups want­i­ng to trans­form land to pol­li­na­tor- sup­port­ing mead­ows and pas­tures.

The team and key vol­un­teers: Mau­reen and Lloyd Lisle, Tanis Giesel­man, Elana West­ers, Gwen Steele, Wayne Flem­ing, Loret­ta Muir, Haruko Kaga­mi, Denise Ketler, Evan Rafuse, Pat Laven­der, Lori Mairs.

April 2016 Wal­dorf school chil­dren helped us install bum­ble bee box­es on site and helped us har­vest net­tles to make net­tle tea for com­post fer­til­iz­er. Dr. Eliz­a­beth Elle gave a Cit­i­zen Sci­ence Bee ID work­shop and sev­er­al cit­i­zen sci­en­tists agreed to come reg­u­lar­ly to the site to assess bee species and num­bers.

May 2016 On Sun­day May 1, sev­er­al vol­un­teers cre­at­ed two “nurs­ery sites” with card­board (giv­en to us by local busi­ness­es), mulch (donat­ed by the Kelow­na Land­fill site), and soil. The largest of these nurs­ery sites was plant­ed on Fri­day, May 6th by school chil­dren who had grown milk­weed for us and with sev­er­al gar­den­ing vol­un­teers.

The team met and decid­ed to cre­ate four test sites on the pas­ture to see which meth­ods work best for man­ag­ing the dis­turbed land and which method would make the pas­ture most suit­able for plant­i­ng. Haruko Kaga­mi mapped out four 25’ diam­e­ter cir­cles, using bum­ble bee homes as our con­cep­tu­al pat­tern, Nan­cy and Megan Hunger GPSed and marked these out on the site, and Denise Ketler weed whacked the cir­cles.

On Sat­ur­day May 28, a group of vol­un­teers devel­oped the first two cir­cles, one sheet mulched with card­board and mulch and one tilled with a rototiller donat­ed by Winn Rentals. The next day, anoth­er group of vol­un­teers cre­at­ed a black plas­tic cov­ered cir­cle and, because we were rained out, Nan­cy and her stu­dents cre­at­ed the fourth clear plas­tic cir­cle lat­er that week. Before we laid the plas­tic we soaked the soil with water and net­tle com­post tea.