Saanichton-based Farmlands Trust wins top award for pollinator protection efforts

The Farmlands Trust Society was abuzz with excitement on being named Pollinator Advocate for Canada at the 2018 North American Pollinator Protection Campaign Awards, on Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C.

The Saanichton-based charitable organization was recognized for its commitment to environmental stewardship and pollinator conservation by the Pollinator Partnership, the world’s largest organization dedicated to the protection of pollinators.

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“We are thrilled to receive the award,” said Carol Pickup, chair of the Farmlands Trust Society. “We operate a field-to-plate initiative at Newman Farm, where volunteers grow fruit and vegetables for those in need at Our Place Society. But we would get no fruit if the trees were not pollinated.”

The society won one of only seven awards conferred to organizations and individuals in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

“We are pleased to be able to recognize the outstanding efforts of these special individuals, who are leading by example and taking innovative actions that help make the North American landscape a better place for our pollinating partners … the bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other species that we all rely upon,” said Val Dolcini, president and CEO of San Francisco, California-based Pollinator Partnership.

The Farmlands Trust Society was recognized for creating a habitat for beneficial insects, including planting hedgerows of bee-friendly flowers, such as sunflowers and wild flowers. They also did not use chemicals, insecticides and pesticides to control pests at the 100-year-old historic Newman Farm in Saanichton.

The society is also an active member of the Island Pollinator Initiative, a coalition of groups working to protect pollinators on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

“We need people to recognize the importance of wild bees,” Pickup said. “The pollinators are responsible for more than 7,250 kilograms of fruit that we harvested for Our Place in 2018.”

The success of the program has attracted requests for a share of next year’s bounty by the LifeCycles Project and two First Nations.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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