honey bee jubilee

May 29 is the first-ever "Day of the Honey Bee" in Saskatoon. To celebrate, there will be a free Honey Bee Jubilee event at the Roxy Theatre on Saturday between 1 and 5 p.m.

Children are encouraged to dress in black and yellow and don antennae if they have them. (I am thrilled to get another use out of Baby J's hand-me-down Halloween bee costume!) 

The afternoon will include a few presentations and two short documentaries, followed by a free showing of the family-friendly Bee Movie.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness about honey bee disappearances across Canada. According to Clinton Shane Ekdahl, a Saskatoon backyard bee enthusiast and founder of the "Day of the Honey Bee," Canada has lost more than 30 percent of its honey bees. This is alarming since honey bees are responsible for roughly a third of the food we consume and about 70 percent of food crop pollination.

It is unclear what is causing honey bee disappearances across Canada and around the world. A few suspected contributors include: cold weather, pesticide use, parasites, monoculture food crops, poor immune systems, viruses and other pathogens.

The more he learned about the issue, the more Ekdahl became empassioned to make a difference.

"I thought that if governments declared a day in honour of these valuable animals, more people would be made aware of their importance and the crisis threatening them," Ekdahl said. "I thought that by doing this, more public and government support could be given toward research that is needed to find answers.

He sent more than 2,100 e-mails and letters in the first month. "I did not stop there, I wrote letters to each member of Parliament, the Canadian federal government, each provincial government, numerous MLA’s, government ministers and the media," he said.  "I wrote about the history of the honey bee and its value to our environment, agriculture and economy."

As a result, the first-ever proclamation declaring May 29, 2010, as the "Day of the Honey Bee" was issued in Saskatoon, and later in Regina. Since that time, 61 official proclamations from seven provinces have declared May 29 the "Day of the Honey Bee," and there is a motion in the House of Commons supporting “National Day of the Honey Bee.” This locally led project has even inspired other groups from around the world to initiate similar events.

While public admission is free of charge, event organizers will be accepting honey and other non-perishable food donations for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre. Cash donations will also be welcomed by the Canadian Honey Council as it further researches the cause of honey bee disappearances across Canada.

* flower and bee picture provided by V & R Photography




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