Quest University is delighted to announce Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Environmental Fund’s support of its Downtown Educational Pollinator Garden, with an $8,874 grant. This significant award is for the completion of the garden and installation of educational components, including contributions by The Squamish Men’s Shed and the Squamish Mural Project.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ellen Flournoy, QUEST’s Rhetoric Chair, and Emma Dunlop, a 2020 graduate, and backed by the District of Squamish, students and local volunteers, community groups and businesses created a pollinator garden in downtown Squamish. Started in April 2020, the intent was to help the endangered pollinators and to educate the community of their importance and how to help the pollinators develop.

Over the last 30 years pollinators (birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, etc) have been in decline: this subsequently affects food systems, as without these pollinators, food supply comes under threat. Dr. Flournoy and her team collaborated with the District of Squamish to convert almost 4,000 square feet of unused district land to a model garden. It includes 400+ mostly-native plants that have been carefully chosen to increase forage for pollinators, nesting areas for ground-dwelling and cavity-dwelling pollinators, 100 linear feet of flagstone pathway and a gravel path for pedestrians.

Quest University President George Iwama says of the adventurous project, “This magnificent garden is having a very positive impact in the community. It is vital for Quest to connect our work with the people with whom we live. It’s wonderful to see how learning can happen while benefiting our neighbours.”

Dr. Flournoy adds, “This garden is a wonderful chance for Quest students to engage the community in intergenerational partnerships and showcase their science communication skills. We’re looking forward to a time when we can all gather outside again to work and learn together.”

Particularly involved in the project were Squamish Savings, Hawthorn Landscape Design, Coast Aggregates, and Our Squamish. Quest’s team also collaborated with Climate Action Network to start a vegetable garden onsite for the Squamish Food Bank.

Quest University is also keen to engage the community around pollinator awareness and inspire residential gardeners to consider pollinators during their own gardening practices. No matter the size or location, whether it be on a balcony, patio or their own garden, everyone can contribute to the efforts being taken to support pollinators.

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