Wednesday, August 10, 2022

‘Pollinator cafes’ brighten downtown and help urban ecosystem

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Colourful new collections of flower plantings will adorn downtown Lethbridge for the rest of the summer. The “pollinator cafes” are designed to add vibrancy to the downtown, while offering infrastructure for pollinators within the urban ecosystem, according to the City of Lethbridge.

“Creating the Pollinator Cafés has been a fun way to showcase the different types of pollinators that call Lethbridge home and help keep our gardens and local vegetation healthy and productive,” says Jackie Cardinal, natural resource coordinator for city parks. “Learning about how we can create beautiful spaces while supporting and enhancing pollinator habitats, large and small, is so important for the health and wellness of our ecosystems and city overall.”

The planters consist of annual flowers, intentionally selected to provide food and habitat for local pollinators. Signs on many of them will feature a particular type of pollinator and outline the key plant features they are looking for in a food source. Embedded QR codes will link to plant lists people can reference when planning and selecting flowers for their own gardens and planters.

The project is a collaboration between several City of Lethbridge departments, including urban revitalization, parks, and the Helen Schuler Nature Centre.

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“Green infrastructure is a critical part of the overall health of our urban ecosystem and even something as simple as choosing a flower for your planters can have a huge impact,” says Coreen Putman, manager of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. “Local pollinators have specific adaptations that require a particular shape, colour and seasonality of flowers. We’ve created these signs as a resource to inform members of the community about these distinctions and hopefully to also empower them to make informed choices when planning their garden.”

If you have recently visited the downtown you may have noticed more trees, shrubs and flowers. This green infrastructure is part of an ongoing effort to enhance the health, vitality and growth of the downtown as part of the ongoing implementation of the Heart of Our City Master Plan, according to the city.

“The ultimate goal of urban revitalization is to create a sense of place where people and activities want to be,” says Andrew Malcolm, urban revitalization manager of the City of Lethbridge. “This project is another way we can work to create a beautiful, inviting and engaging atmosphere for residents and visitors to enjoy. Add in the fact that it is also helping the environment and it really is a win-win.”

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