||December 2008 issue||
FEATURE - BUMBLEBEES
Plight of the bumblebee
As the die-off of pollinators threatens our food supply, one scientist has found a solution down in the dump
By Candace Savage
It’s a pleasant afternoon in July, and a group of us — a city councillor, a landscape architect and a handful of
university types — are scuffing up a dirt track in a decommissioned municipal landfill on the outskirts of Guelph,
Ont. Under our feet lies a four-decade accumulation of household trash capped with soil and clay to create a rising
landscape of small hills and gentle valleys. Were it not for the frequent intrusion of leachate-monitoring stations and
methane-gas wells, tightly enclosed by fences and locks, we might forget that we are walking over a midden of spent and
wasted things, a graveyard for years of gotta-have-it dreams.
Yet the members of the hiking party are lighthearted,
inspired not by what this place is but by what it could
become. In their eyes, this wasteland is crying out to be transformed
into flower-rich habitat for bees, butterflies, beetles
and other flower-friendly bugs. Already, they can envision
a sign at the entrance welcoming visitors to “Pollinator
Park,” the world’s first sanctuary for the insects that feed us.
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