On 25 September 2017, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute was certified as an official Bee City Canada School. Due to the strong effort of MGCI’s EcoTeam, the school became the second high school and the sixth school in Canada to be awarded this esteemed title.

Bee City Canada representative and Ms. Roberge with certification plaque. Photo: Lisa Wang

A Bee City Canada School is a school that has been recognized for their efforts in protecting endangered pollinators through education. In order to become one, a school must form a committee devoted to the mission and fill out an application highlighting the initiatives they have taken to educate students on the plight of pollinators.

The committee is currently composed of Grade 12 EcoTeam members Lisa Wang, Raluca Gondor, Venice Cheng, and Mandy Chen as well as teachers Michelle Woodley and Alicia Roberge, and caretaker Luke Chanmurugan. When asked why the school decided to apply, EcoTeam Co-President Lisa Wang said “We applied to be a Bee City School to show our commitment to the conservation of pollinators!” The committee’s job was to complete the application and also aid in various pollinator awareness endeavours around the school such as an education workshop held last year.

Most of the application was focussed on the committee’s resolution to plant a pollinator garden. With a grant from TD Friends of the Environment, EcoTeam partnered with Ontario Nature to install one, located outside near the entrance to the main office. The garden is comprised of over two hundred native wildflowers on school grounds including giant sunflowers, sweet oxeyes, and pearly everlastings. In addition to their win, MGCI was gifted with more plants to fuel the garden.

Students of the Environmental Science Class learning about the importance of pollinators. Photo: Lisa Wang

The EcoTeam has been the primary advocate of this cause at Garneau, having held a honey tasting at their annual Eco Ex with a focus on the declination of bees and spreading awareness on social media. This year, they, along with teachers within the school will host various seminars educating students on pollinators. Recently, speakers from Bee City Canada taught students in the Environmental Science course about the crisis pollinators face and their importance. EcoTeam will also hold a Pollinator Week on the third week of June, during which they will conduct a Spirit Day encouraging students to dress in black and yellow clothing to emulate bees.

The future of pollinators has become brighter with another school’s promise and dedication the Bee City movement. EcoTeam Co-President Tazik Shahjahan said, “The endangered state of pollinators is a major concern and it’s great to think that our EcoTeam can be at the forefront of raising awareness and taking action.