To "be" a city, a community must have a certain population and fulfill other requirements.  

However, to be a "bee" city a community must respect, look after and celebrate our friends who pollinate our fruits, vegetables, flowers and other growing things.

That's what the City of Airdrie has been doing recently, and will continue to put a larger focus on after being designated the 23rd Bee City in Canada earlier this week.

A short ceremony at Airdrie City Council this week was all it took for Bee City Canada's Director Shelly Candel to make the designation official, but, according to Airdrie Senior Planner Gail Gibeau, the work started some time ago.

"The process actually started about a year ago when myself and another colleague met with Bee City Canada representatives and they talked to us about the benefits to the Airdrie community in becoming a Bee City Canada community.  Essentially, what we had to do, was have our city designated a bee city by our council, which was done on November 5th of last year.  We also had to start a pollinator working group, which we have started and we're now recruiting volunteers for.  Another thing that we will need to do is celebrate pollinators at designated times throughout the year." 

Gibeau says the city is already doing its best to lead by example.  "Our Parks Department works just now to create enhanced pollinator habitats in our parks and open space network," explains Gibeau.  "So we're looking to take advantage of the opportunities to educate residents about what they can do to help urban pollinators under this Bee City Canada platform."

The importance of all pollinators is profound says Gibeau.  "Becoming a Bee City Canada means more than just saving the bees.  "It's about pollinator diversity really.  Pollinators include bats and birds but the majority are insects including butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps and especially the bees."

City staff have been convening as part of the pollinator's working group since the start of the year and now they're hopeful that members of the community will want to volunteer to become part of that group.  

Gibeau says, "The pollinator working group is a group of volunteers who will work in collaboration with the City of Airdrie to provide educational experiences about the native pollinators and their habitats.  So we're looking for volunteers for that group.  For more information, people can go to our website for the terms of reference.  If they'd like they can also send us a quick email at urbanbees@airdrie .ca."

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