Kawartha Lakes announces 2023 'Bee a Hero' award recipients

From an individual planting black-eyed Susans to a child care centre using swamp milkweed and golden rod in its garden, Kawartha Lakes is recognizing residents' efforts to save the bees.

Beekeeper Christine Szabados and Kawartha Lakes councillor Pat Warren, both on the Kawartha Lakes environmental advisory committee (KLEAC), presented community members with the 2023 Bee a Hero Awards at the Kawartha Lakes committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday (April 9).

The awards recognize residents who create pollinator-friendly gardens.

Kawartha Lakes is the seventh municipality in Canada to be officially recognized as a Bee City by Bee City Canada. The municipality supports healthy pollinator populations and ongoing efforts to preserve and create pollinator habitat.

One of Bee City Kawartha Lakes' ongoing initiatives is the "pollinator pathway." KLEAC encourages community members to get involved by creating a pollinator garden. Residents can register their gardens to be part of the "pollinator pathway" map.

For the annual Bee a Hero contest, participants are asked to submit before and after pictures of their pollinator-friendly garden for consideration.

These are the 2023 award recipients:

Astrid Hood

Hood created her pollinator garden by seeding a wildflower mix and planting native perennials like black-eyed Susans.

BGC Kawarthas / Kids in Motion Child Care

They created a garden that has swamp milkweed, golden rod, obedient plant, yarrow, wild strawberry, pearly everlasting, blazing star, purple coneflower, elderberry, cranberry bush, and sunflowers.

Donna Bisschop

Bisschop grows coneflower, bergamot and black-eyed Susans for bees and hummingbirds, as well as basil, asters, clover, currants, lupines oregano, and sage.

Harold Lenters

Lenters' gardens have coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, phlox, catmint, butterfly bushes, milkweed and others. He also allows the shoreline to naturalize.

Leah MacLaren

MacLaren's wildflower garden has black-eyed Susans, purple coneflower, bachelor's button, sweet Williams, and beebalms.

Lesley Armstrong-Braun

Armstrong-Braun's garden caters to monarchs, bees and hummingbirds with milkweed, black-eyed Susans, and coneflowers.

Lisa Hart

Hart's memorial garden has impatiens, snap dragons, and gladiolus bulbs.

Natasha Lazaroff

Lazaroff planted phlox, coneflower, yarrow, hyssop, sea holly, fleabane, marigolds, dahlias, snapdragons, mugworts, lilac, shasta daisy, pennyroyal, foxglove, Queen Anne's lace, black-eyed Susans, ammi dara, roses, astilbe, globe thisle, poppy, zinnia, joe pye weed, milkweed, sweet pea, tickseed, alpine strawberry, beebalm, mint, sunflower, herbs and native grasses.

The full presentation with each award recipient’s before-and-after photos is available on the City of Kawartha Lakes website.

Each winner received a 2023 Bee a Hero certificate and a $50 gift card for either Grow Wild, a native plant nursery in Omemee, or Green Side Up, a native plant nursery also in Omemee.

Kawartha Lakes reminds residents wishing to enter next year's contest to take a "before" picture this spring that shows the preparation of their pollinator-friendly garden, and stay tuned for 2024 contest dates by subscribing for news updates on the Kawartha Lakes website.

Bee City Kawartha Lakes' recognition from Bee City Canada is a reflection of its commitment to promote healthy pollinator populations and actively preserve and create pollinator habitats, the group noted.

Being a Bee City encourages community engagement and "underscores our support for fostering healthy ecosystems and sustainable food sources," Bee City Kawartha Lakes noted.

To learn more about the Bee City program, visit the Bee City Canada website at beecitycanada.org.

Bee City Canada's mission is to recognize and support municipalities, Indigenous communities, campuses, schools, and other organizations that are taking action to protect and promote pollinators.

Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, KawarthaNOW