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York Region's new pollinator meadow will help bees, butterflies
June 13, 2022

As someone who is passionate about native planting, Mount Albert resident Eva McGeal said she wanted to help out at York Region’s new pollinator meadow .

McGeal, who has received Canadian Wildlife Federation certification for her own wildlife-friendly property, said more citizens need to be planting native to make their spaces more environmentally and pollinator friendly.

“I wish more people understand there’s only one planet and we all have to live on it,” she said, adding that she is opposed to the flat lawns created by mowers. “There’s no need for huffing-and-puffing hell machines, you can just plant native and support the environment.”

York Region invited the community to help it launch a new pollinator meadow in Richmond Hill June 9. The pilot “Project Pollinator” will see 1,000 plants placed along Bayview Avenue south of Bethesda Sideroad in a bid to help pollinator species.

The region, which may expand the initiative in other municipalities if the pilot goes well, wants to benefit pollinator species like bees and butterflies, said district manager of roads maintenance Barbara Antic.

“Most of the world's plants require pollinators to pollinate them,” she said. “These gardens will provide that stability to help the pollinators to come and thrive.”

The region is using the project as an opportunity for community engagement. Antic said they also invited three local school classes to come and help plant.

“(We hope to) educate the community on pollinators and the importance of it in the world and in York Region,” she said, adding it could inspire others to consider native plants on their properties.

Avid gardener and Richmond Hill resident Greta Vandenvossche said she came to help as she is interested in native plants.

“It’s important that we put more natives in,” she said. “The right plants for the right bees for the right birds support the whole ecosystem.”

McGeal said she appreciated York Region putting effort to do something like this.

“I’m really proud that York Region is doing this to help pollinators that are in peril right now,” she said.

She said she hopes more residents will put native gardens on their lawns.

“People think the pinnacle of dreams is the golf lawn on their front yard that looks like a penitentiary,” she said. “All I hear from neighbours is grass mowers and blowers. They just don’t know how to relax, how to plant something, how to sit and enjoy and watch a butterfly."