Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to welcome some helpful new members to our campus community – a colony of mason bees!
Unlike honeybees, who build complex hives and work together in large numbers, mason bees are solitary but effective pollinators that live in small, reed-like tubes. Mason bees are non-aggressive and do not make honey, instead eating the pollen they collect.
VCC’s new mason bees and their custom-built houses were the result of a special sustainability project led by VCC science instructors Klaudia Jurkemik and Jacqueline Shehadeh. The initiative was made possible thanks to VCC’s Environmental Community Action Team (ECAT) and the Eco-College Small Grants program that provided up to $500 for winning sustainability proposals in late 2019.
Want to see the bees in action? Two of the mason bee homes in VCC’s Broadway campus courtyard have plexiglass sides, which allow the colony to be viewed by the community and used for educational purposes in our Biology classes.
To keep our bees happy and our urban ecosystem thriving, additional recipients this year’s Eco-College Small Grants have worked to keep flowers and vegetables growing at the Broadway campus.
Thanks to the funding, mathematics department assistant and volunteer gardener Jotie Grewalson was able to re-soil and clean the courtyard beds, while student Xianan Bai planted a variety of perennial flowering bulbs including allium, gladiolus, and lilium. “I wanted our garden to be beautiful for a long time,” says Xianan.
Our final group of Eco-College grant winners approached the idea of “green” a little differently – by looking deep inside our closets. In their proposal, VCC Adult Special Education students in the Managing Your Money (CCED 0608) class wanted to call attention to issues surrounding “fast fashion” and textile waste. In doing so, they researched key statistics for an information campaign that would encourage the VCC community to reduce, reuse, and recycle their clothing.
In collaboration with VCC Graphic Design, the grant winners produced a series of posters and flyers that were launched at VCC Fashion’s “Clothing Mend-It" event in March 2020 and subsequently distributed across VCC campuses.
Poster design "Buy Less Wear More" by Kylie Woo
Poster design "Reduce, Repair, Reuse" by Lera Matsumura
Read more about how VCC continues to integrate energy conservation and sustainability into campus culture.