Eco-Friendly Initiatives

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Rosedale Park Community Tree Planting 

The Town of Whitby received a $25,000 TD Green Space Grant from TD Bank Group (TD) and the Arbor Day Foundation to support innovative urban greening and tree planting projects in underserved areas of the community. Whitby is one of only 20 Canadian and U.S. cities selected to receive such a grant.

Through the grant, more than 400 new trees have been planted in Rosedale Park (265 Rosedale Drive), helping to turn the currently underutilized park into a diverse green space for the community to enjoy. The funding will also enable the Town to remove invasive species in the area, increase tree canopy coverage and add plant life that will increase the biodiversity of Rosedale Park.

Urban Beehive

As of June 20th, 2019, Whitby became one of the first municipalities to have an urban beehive installed on their property. The beehive will be installed on the roof of Town Hall (located at 575 Rossland Road East), utilizing the unused flat roof space. The installation of the bee habitat is a natural next step for the town, as it strives to protect pollinators and their habitat through action and education.

The beehive is being maintained and looked after by Alveole beekeepers, with all funding for this project being provided by TD Friends of the Environment Grant. At the end of the season, the Town will extract approximately 10 kilograms of honey from its rooftop beehive.

Bee Hive Infographic

Pollinator Planting Project

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, residents and volunteers of all ages joined the Town of Whitby in planting native plants to diversify the existing pollinator habitat along Whitby’s waterfront. The project was made possible through a grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, a national charity that funds environmental projects across Canada.

More than 40 volunteers planted 940 pollinator-attracting plants, such as Virginia Mountain Mint and Blue vervain, within the 10 metre by 50 metre site, located at Gordon Richards Park, east of Heydenshore Park.

The planting initiative is part of the Town’s Bee City and Mayor’s Monarch Pledge commitments to promote, diversify, create and enhance habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies. This is the first habitat to be planted under these initiatives, which require a new habitat to be created, maintained or improved each year.

The planting project was made possible by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. The Town would like to give special thanks to the volunteers: 

• Whitby Residents
• TD Bank Employee Volunteers
• Members of the Ontario Nature Youth Council
• Members of the Town of Whitby Sustainability Committee
• A member of Girl Guides donated 2 bee houses that she helped make
• Mayor Don Mitchell and staff who prepared and coordinated the project

Bee City 

In 2018, Bee City Canada has designated the Town of Whitby as a “Bee City.” The mission of the group is to inspire municipalities, First Nations, schools, businesses and organizations to take action to protect pollinators. The Town is the tenth municipality in Canada and the first in Durham Region to achieve this designation.

The Bee City designation is awarded to municipalities that make a declaration to:

  1. Creating, maintaining and/or improving pollinator habitat.
  2. Educating their community about the importance of pollinators.
  3. Celebrating pollinators during International Pollinator Week or at other times.

Report to Council: PL 96-17 

Mayors' Monarch Pledge

The Town joined the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge leadership circle in 2016. The Pledge is an initiative of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) whereby municipalities in both United States of America and Canada are committing to create habitat and educate citizens about how they can make a difference within their city/town. 

The Pledge contains initiatives a municipality must complete prior to being part of the leadership circle. The Town has exceeded minimum and continues to complete the action steps annually to support monarch butterfly and pollinator habitat

Report to Council: CMS 39-16

Darren Park Vegetation Transplant

In 2015, the Town, the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) and Medallion Developments worked together to preserve two Butternut Trees and Narrowleaf Mountain Mint vegetation. Butternut trees are considered a species at risk in Ontario and narrowleaf mountain mint is a locally rare species. These trees and vegetation were transplanted into Darren Park. Monitoring for vegetation health will occur until 2020, to ensure survival and successful transplantation.


Protecting Pollinators

Build Bee Nest (Bee Condo):

Did you know that most bees native to Canada do not live in hives and almost never sting? These kinds of bees are known as solitary bees. You can create your own habitat for these bees by building a Bee Nest (or Bee Condo).

Here are a few simple steps to follow:

  1. Drill holes of varying diameter into a block of wood.
  2. Install the blocks in a place where: a. There is a nearby source of pollen (your garden), b. The holes will be sheltered from the weather, and facing east or southeast to catch the morning sun.
  3. Monitor the nest to see all of the bees using the habitat you created.
  4. Replace the bee nest at least every two (2) years.

Plant a Pollinator-friendly Yard:

  • Use compost or fertilizer to keep your yard and garden healthy and fertile
  • Plant nectar and pollen-rich plants such as Common Milkweed, Black-eyed Susan, Wild Bergamot and New England Aster
  • Plant flowers with a range of shapes and sizes to help attract pollinators of different sizes
  • Provide water for your pollinators – add a bee bath!
  • Avoid using pesticides and herbicides as these are harmful to pollinators and can also wipe out plants that provide a food source for pollinators

Learn more about the difference between Native Solitary Bees and European Honey Bees.

Pollinator Fun Facts

  • Did you know that bees aren’t the only pollinators?  Butterflies, lady bugs, beetles, moths and hummingbirds are also important pollinators.
  • Without pollinators we wouldn’t have some of our favourite treats like coffee and chocolate!  Without bees we would lose all the fruits and vegetables they pollinate – like oranges, pumpkins, onion, avocados, blueberries, raspberries and cherries.
  • There are upwards of 4,000 native bee species in North America, including about 50 different bumblebee species.
  • Honey Bees were brought to North America from Europe and is now considered “naturalized” (established and widespread in the wild, though not indigenous).
  • Native bees are generally docile. Many native bees do not have a stinger or very rarely use their stingers because they are not defending a collective hive filled with honey, where such drastic life-threatening defense strategies make sense. Native bees pollination services, however, are critical for trees, flowers, and shrubs.
  • A honey bee visits 50 – 100 flowers in one collection trip.
  • Honey Bees fly more than once around the world to gather a pound of honey.

Source: Habitat Network


Links and Resources

Do Honey Bees Compete with Native Bees? - The Nature Conservancy 

Pollinators Need Our Help - Town of Whitby Brochure

Learn more about Pollinators - Pollinator Partnership

Learn about Protecting Pollinators and the Pollinator Action Plan - Ontario Government

A Guide for Preserving and Creating Habitat for Pollinators on Ontario’s Farms - Pollinator Partnership

Create Habitat for Pollinators including Native Solitary Bees - David Suzuki Foundation

Maintain Pollinator Habitat - Toronto Region Conservation Authority