Bee houses win sustainability award
BEE / HOUSE / LAB, an international bee house design competition launched by the University of Manitoba this year, won a high honour over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced U of M as the recipient of the Campus Sustainability Achievement Award for outstanding achievement and progress toward sustainability.
“Much of the success of “BEE / HOUSE / LAB” can be attributed to its collaborative nature,” says Associate Vice-President (Administration) Andrew Konowalchuk. “The project truly benefitted from the expertise of every partner, bringing together different offices and academic departments and connecting the University of Manitoba with the broader community.”
AASHE bestows this prestigious award on institutions and individuals that help to propel institutions of higher education to a sustainable future.
BEE / HOUSE / LAB: International Design Competition was launched in March 2016, as a way to involve designers, architects and students in creating better homes for bees.
“Around the world, pollinator insects are under threat from … parasites and pathogens, pesticide use, habitat loss and climate change, especially in urban areas,” says Robert Currie, professor of entomology at the U of M (read a Q&A with him on this subject). “Bees play a critical role in ecosystems, including pollination of many food crops we rely on. In urban areas, creating artificial habitats like bee houses that are appealing to the public, easy to use and attractive to bees can help support healthy and resilient pollinator communities.”
After the BEE / HOUSE LAB winners were announced in April, the U of M’s FabLab made the winning designs a reality and about 50 bee houses were installed by the University of Manitoba Parks Canada Campus Club. Until the end of October the bee houses can be seen on campus and in community locations including Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market and the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
The outdoor enthusiasts at the U of M Parks Canada Campus Club will come together again at the end of October, to collect the bee houses, so that Robert Currie and the department of entomology can embark on the research aspect of BEE / HOUSE LAB by opening the bee houses to see how many of them were at the maximum capacity of around 80 – 100 solitary nesting bees per house. The jury decided which of the bee houses were winners of the design competition, but once the houses are opened it will become clear which design the bees preferred.
This year, AASHE received 220 total entries – a record number, with seven winners announced in three categories. Winners were announced on October 9th, during the Opening Ceremony at the AASHE Conference & Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. Entries were judged on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement, clarity and other criteria specific to each category.
Take a look below at the winning bee house designs announced in May 2016.