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The Pollinator Connection: Bee passionate about creating bee habitat

By Kristina Lefever for the Tidings

Even with the seemingly unending issues that we are dealing with — especially smoke and fire — we are fortunate to live where we do. Not only is this an amazing part of the country, Ashland is home to a large population of passionate people working on issues to make our city, county and world a better place.

I’d like to give a “hat tip” to the passionate and dedicated Ashland residents who made Bee City USA Ashland’s second annual Pollinator Garden Tour, on Sunday, July 15, a success! Sixteen gardens were on the tour this year, all different and all bee-autiful.

Thank you to those gardeners who worked so hard to bee ready, and then graciously shared your gardens and knowledge with many visitors for several hours that morning. And of course, thank you to Ashland Parks and Rec and the Bee City USA Ashland team for making it all possible! Our hope is that people found both inspiration and ideas to grow their own pollinator landscapes.

As rural lands around cities become cultivated or developed, and as urban infill continues, fewer and fewer “natural” wild areas remain. We are fortunate to live so close to protected lands (thanks to the hard work of many passionate and dedicated people) where pollinators flourish — native plants support native pollinators best.

But it is also critical to have pollinator-friendly landscapes within the human-built environment — urban and suburban landscapes provide much needed food and habitat, as explained in a recent article, “What Can Bees Teach Us about Building Better Urban Ecosystems?” What can Ashland learn from this? Here’s an excerpt:

“Toronto, whose green, park-filled metro area is home to more than 300 species of bees, ranks among North America’s ‘greenest’ cities for its sustainability measures. The city council adopted a ‘Pollinator Protection Strategy’ that includes creating more pollinator habitat on public lands, sharing lists of recommended plantings for home gardens, and linking up green spaces so pollinators can more easily travel between them. It’s a strategy geared specifically to native bees (emphasis added), and it builds on years of policy that aim to green the city while recognizing that already booming Toronto will only get more dense. Since 2006, the city has mandated