Every pollinator is beautiful and there is an easy way to see more of them while helping the world: butterflyways. The concept is simple: bees and butterflies are under a lot of pressure from human activity so help them on their pollination journey by feeding them. All you have to do is look up what pollinators love in your local area then plant a small garden for them, then tell others. By combining efforts with other gardeners or community groups you can create a pleasant route for our little friends.
In May and June, activities ranged from creating butterfly-themed costumes and a bike-trailer garden that won second prize in a Victoria parade, to adopting city parks in Richmond. In Markham and Toronto, Rangers built on a project started through the foundation’s Homegrown National Park Project, installing a dozen wildflower-filled canoes in parks, schools and daycares. In Toronto’s west end, a pair of Rangers led the Butterflyway Lane art project, painting butterfly-themed murals on two dozen garage doors, walls and fences in a laneway facing Garrison Creek Park.
In late June, Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood and Richmond, B.C. surpassed the target of a dozen Ranger-led plantings, earning kudos from the foundation for creating Canada’s first Butterflyways. The project is spreading, with neighbouring city councillors and groups clamouring to get their own Butterflyways.
Bees are having a hard time in the 21st century everything from radio waves to pesticides are messing with their honey creation. The poor creatures are also suffering from a massive colony collapse disorder. What’s more native species need to compete with colonies that are shipped around for farmers.
Fortunately there are still ways to help bees! Farmers in Mexico and India are using techniques learned over a millennium ago to keep their local bee populations surviving. No more pesticides or bizarre treatment of bees – instead these farmers help the bees help themselves (and humans).
On the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, where large swaths of native forests are still intact, scientists interested in restoring that function are working with Mayan farmers to revive traditional beekeeping. The researchers’ long-term studies of bee populations and surveys of beekeepers in remote Mayan villages showed that the practice is no longer being passed down through families. To help preserve a tradition they saw as essential to preventing local extinction of these stingless bees Buchmann, Roubik, Villanueva-Gutiérrez, and other colleagues from the University of Yucatan started annual workshops to train a new generation of beekeepers.
Bees are wonderful little beings that spread pollen to places that need it and, as a bonus they create delicious honey. It turns out that a spoonful of honey can help you sleep!
Suffering from yet another poor night’s sleep? Then how about trying some local beekeeper’s honey for a rejuvenating sleep!
Here’s why: Researchers found that a teaspoon or two of honey before bed ensures a restorative sleep. A human liver stores about eight hours of glycogen – an important brain food. If you eat supper at 7 p.m., by about 3 a.m. your brain releases a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol scavenges the body, melts muscle tissue and converts it into glycogen to feed the brain. When released, cortisol causes the heart to beat faster and raises glucose insulin levels in the blood.
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