Devel­oped by Cameron Cartiere and Nan­cy Holmes as a work­ing method­ol­o­gy, the Pub­lic Art Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture is a pub­lic art-dri­ven wild flower mead­ow that ben­e­fits a mul­ti­tude of essen­tial pol­li­na­tors (includ­ing bees, but­ter­flies, and birds) and empow­ers com­mu­ni­ties to be eco­log­i­cal ambas­sadors and cit­i­zen scientists. 

The cre­ation of a habi­tat for threat­ened wild pol­li­na­tors is essen­tial to these species’ sur­vival and, ulti­mate­ly, the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the wider ecosys­tem. In addi­tion to its envi­ron­men­tal impact, the Pas­tures will also encour­age envi­ron­men­tal aware­ness and sus­tain­able behav­iour. While the aver­age per­son may feel pow­er­less to stop the dra­mat­ic decline of the pol­li­na­tor pop­u­la­tion, there are, in fact, sim­ple and effec­tive ways to con­tribute to their sus­tain­abil­i­ty. The Pas­tures will encour­age com­mu­ni­ties to take an active role in the habi­tat solu­tion, while at the same time meet­ing pub­lic safe­ty, beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, and lifestyle improve­ment needs for those who uti­lize the site. 

The Pas­tures pro­mote and con­tribute to envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty at both eco­log­i­cal and com­mu­ni­ty lev­els by cre­at­ing sus­tain­able habi­tat and ecosys­tem renew­al for threat­ened wild pol­li­na­tors in the region. The envi­ron­men­tal impact of the project will be sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly mea­sured through Bor­der Free Bees’ part­ner­ships with notable aca­d­e­m­ic researchers at Uni­ver­si­ties such as Emi­ly Carr, Simon Fras­er, Thomp­son Rivers, and Dalhousie. 

The Kelowna Pasture

The Pub­lic Art Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture is a ven­ture to link art, sci­ence, and inno­v­a­tive com­mu­ni­ty involve­ment to address prob­lems relat­ed to food secu­ri­ty (for humans and for bees), land use, and pol­li­na­tor pop­u­la­tion col­lapse. In Kelow­na, we are also deeply inter­est­ed in water scarci­ty issues espe­cial­ly as they relate to plants and their essen­tial col­lab­o­ra­tors, native bees.

Brent’s Grist Mill Her­itage site. Pho­to by Fion­ncara MacEoin.

The Kelow­na Pub­lic Art Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture is on City of Kelow­na prop­er­ty at the Brent’s Grist Mill Her­itage site near the cor­ner of Leck­ie and Dil­worth roads in the heart of Kelow­na. This site hous­es Brent’s grist mill, the old­est agri­cul­tur­al-indus­try build­ing in the Okana­gan and old­est grist mill in British Colum­bia. The site also has a pre­cious creek­side ecol­o­gy with numer­ous native plants as well as inva­sive species.

Our goal is to make the Kelow­na pas­ture friend­ly to native bees and to make it as water-friend­ly and eco­log­i­cal­ly-healthy as pos­si­ble, while inte­grat­ing human and cul­tur­al his­to­ries and activ­i­ties. Our goal is to make the site a place that offers sanc­tu­ary to threat­ened native bees and oth­er pol­li­na­tors, as well as that cre­ates a site for com­mu­ni­ty shar­ing of infor­ma­tion and knowl­edge about place, her­itage, insects, soils, land, and plants.

Stay up to date with this project by fol­low­ing the Kelow­na Pub­lic Art Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture Face­book page. 

The Kelow­na Pub­lic Art Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture project needs a diverse group of com­mu­ni­ty friends, sup­port­ers, part­ners, and helpers to make this a real­i­ty. If you are inter­est­ed in con­tribut­ing, please con­tact UBC Pro­fes­sor Nan­cy Holmes. We are grate­ful for the con­tri­bu­tions of the fol­low­ing local part­ners and businesses:

The Kelow­na Pub­lic Art Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture project needs a diverse group of com­mu­ni­ty friends, sup­port­ers, part­ners, and helpers to make this a real­i­ty. If you are inter­est­ed in con­tribut­ing, please con­tact UBC Pro­fes­sor Nan­cy Holmes. We are grate­ful for the con­tri­bu­tions of the fol­low­ing local part­ners and businesses:

Local Part­ners
Okana­gan Xeriscape Association
Mas­ter Gar­den­ers of the Okanagan
Seeds Co
Cen­tral Okana­gan Her­itage Society

Winn Rentals
RONA Home & Gar­den Kelowna
The Green­ery
Art Knapp Kelowna

And many won­der­ful com­mu­ni­ty volunteers.

Community Curriculum: Creating a Pollinator Pasture Together

A ded­i­cat­ed group of peo­ple in Kelow­na have met, talked and got their hands dirty to col­lab­o­rate on cre­at­ing the Brent’s Grist Mill Pol­li­na­tor Pas­ture. Our goal has been to co-gen­er­ate knowl­edge for our com­mu­ni­ty to help pol­li­na­tors and pol­li­nat­ing plants in a dry­land ecosystem.

By bring­ing togeth­er mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives and col­lec­tive expe­ri­ence we are cre­at­ing a pol­li­na­tor habi­tat on a 6000 square foot couch-grass invad­ed piece of land in a dry­land cli­mate with no water! Our group of experts come from a vari­ety of fields (from art to gar­den­ing to ecol­o­gy) to form a core think­ing and guid­ing team. We have set up a one-year plan for the devel­op­ment of the pasture.


Till­ing Cir­cle #2 pho­to by Emi­ly MacMillen

Cre­ation of Exper­i­men­tal Cir­cles: While the even­tu­al goal is to plant the entire pas­ture area with native and nat­u­ral­ized seed ben­e­fi­cial to a broad range of pol­li­na­tors, we have to pre­pare the high­ly dis­turbed land. We decid­ed to exper­i­ment with four dif­fer­ent ways to pre­pare the site for plant­i­ng to see which meth­ods of soil prepa­ra­tion will be most con­ge­nial to seeds and plants. Haruko Kaga­mi plot­ted four 500 square foot cir­cles on the site in the styl­ized pat­tern of bum­ble bee nests and plot­ted them using satel­lite pho­tos that indi­cat­ed sim­i­lar “green” cov­er so there would be a base­line con­sis­ten­cy of water reten­tion in the soil.

At the end of May 2016 we pre­pared the cir­cles in the fol­low­ing ways: Cir­cle 1- sheet mulched (with card­board and mulch- mulch donat­ed by City of Kelow­na Waste Man­age­ment branch and card­board from sev­er­al bike shops in town); Cir­cle 2- tilled (with a rototiller donat­ed by Winn Rentals); 2); Cir­cle 3- black plas­tic cov­er (lum­ber wrap donat­ed by Home Hard­ware in Arm­strong); Cir­cle 4- clear plas­tic cov­er (donat­ed by Gwen Steele).

This fall the cir­cles were prepped for plant­i­ng with some soil added (donat­ed by Art Knapps.) Each cir­cle was plant­ed with a sim­i­lar mix of both seeds (donat­ed by Seed­sCo and Wild Blooms) and plants (donat­ed by the Wild Blooms nurs­ery and sev­er­al grown by OMG and OXA vol­un­teers) as well as plants from a Seed­sCo. The Green­ery donat­ed mead­ow sage and laven­der. We also intend to nur­ture some bee-friend­ly plants that exist on the site already- par­tic­u­lar­ly a kind of cat­mint, Ore­gon grape, and yarrow. The main seeds and plants include the fol­low­ing species (colour and bloom time of the flow­ers appear with the species info), all from Dr. Elle’s list of good bee plants for here:

Pussy-toes (Anten­nar­ia dioica ‘Rubra’)- white (May: short plant)
Thread-leaf Flea­bane (Erigeron fil­i­folius)- white, blue, pink (May- June)
Slen­der Hawks­beard (Crepis atrib­ar­ba)- yel­low (late May- July)
Parsnip-Flow­ered Buck­wheat (Eri­o­gon­um her­a­cleoides)- white/cream (June- July)
Brown-eyed Susan/ blan­ket­flower (Gail­lar­dia aris­ta­ta)- yellow/brown (June –Sep­tem­ber)
Showy Aster (Aster con­spic­u­ous)- purple/ pink (June –Octo­ber)
Yarrow (Achil­lea mille­foli­um)- white (June and August)
Pearly Ever­last­ing (Anaphalis mar­gar­i­tacea)- white (August)

Native flower pho­tos by Nan­cy Holmes and Robert Lalonde

We will see how the plants and seeds thrive in each cir­cle in the spring and pro­ceed with a large scale mead­ow-build­ing in the spring of 2017 based on the results of our experiment.

Com­mu­ni­ty Cur­ricu­lum Team:
Rachel Fleming
Tanis Gieselman
Nan­cy Holmes
Megan Hunter
Haruko Kagami
Denise Ketler
Mau­reen Lisle
Lori Mairs
Loret­ta Muir
Evan Rafuse
Gwen Steele
Rebec­ca Tyson
Elana Westers