The Bridgeport Industrial Park in Richmond, BC serves as the pilot pasture for the project. The park is set within the Richmond Bath Slough catchment area. and is made possible through partnerships with Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the City of Richmond (Parks Department, Sustainability Unit, and Public Art Program), BC Hydro, West Coast Seeds, Vancity and TD Friends of the Environment. As the pilot pasture, this important initiative allows the research team to develop a blueprint for future projects while transforming Bridgeport Industrial Park into a dramatically enhanced site. The project utilizes public art methodologies to produce an aesthetically pleasing wildflower pasture, engage the surrounding community, and create sustainable habitat for the benefit of wild pollinators.
For the 2015 growing season, the pasture was planted of a pollinator friendly cover crop (alyssum, red clover, phacelia, and mustard), which improved soil conditions and quickly beautified the site and improved habitat conditions for pollinators. The research team worked with students from the nearby H.J. Cambie Secondary School’s to produced an extended sunflower wall as part of the initial pasture design. Students potted 600 sunflower seeds, cared for the seedlings, and then planted them on-site. The research team also worked with students from the Kwantlen Farm School who helped to harvested the mustard crop. The Kwantlen students utilised the harvested seed to produce jars of mustard. Additional amenities were also designed and developed for the Richmond pasture including carved log seating and wild apiaries (often referred to as ‘insect hotels’).
During this first growing season, the team tested a citizen scientist protocol in the pasture. The data collected will help establish a baseline of pollinator activity for comparing the impact of cover crop to next year’s BC native seed design. The Spring, 2016 pasture will incorporate a range of blooms planted in the shape of bumblebee wings, which will be visible from the airport flight path above. The pollinator pasture will be an earthwork that visitors can experience at ground level and from the sky. Each coloured section of the bee wing incorporates several varieties of native plants that will bloom in succession, thus ensuring that the site will remain in flower for the full pollinator season – early spring to late fall.