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Kara Odegard

Bee-Friendly Project at Chief Garry Park to Support Sustainability

Kara Odegard, Manager of Sustainability Initiatives, 509.625.6702

Friday, October 9, 2020 at 4:43 p.m.

Bee-Friendly Project at Chief Garry Park to Support Sustainability

Photo by Hilary Nickerson

Bees are coming to Chief Garry Park! The Sustainability Action Subcommittee is partnering with Spokane Parks and Recreation, Natural Grocers and Beyond Pesticide to reduce the amount of pesticides currently used in Chief Garry Park.

The goal of the pilot is to demonstrate how creating a habitat that is friendly for bees and other pollinators will preserve water, keep plants resilient, and be safer for the community. It is also an opportunity for City staff managing our parks to learn the role healthy soils play in natural land management, ultimately leading to reduced use of herbicides.

“One of the roles of the natural resources workgroup is to bring stakeholders together in a more fruitful setting. The workgroup helped Beyond Pesticides get in touch with Spokane Parks, got them in the same room together to talk and collaborate.” says workgroup volunteer, Kirsten Angell.

By reducing pesticide use in the park and adding organic food for the soil microorganisms, the project participants hope to improve soil health. Soil teeming with microbial life provides plants the nutrients they need to outcompete weeds naturally, and healthy soil also tends to make water uptake by plants more efficient.

In addition, bees and other pollinators will have a habitat free of the toxins that are known to reduce their populations.

Chief Garry Park Playground

If this project goes well, the workgroup hopes to continue the conversation with the City about an expanded Integrated Pest Management Policy.

In conclusion, the SAS Natural Resources Workgroup volunteers are going strong. They have provided input into the City of Spokane Water Conservation Master Plan and are evaluating farmland preservation efforts as they pertain to regional food security. They’re also discussing riverbank restoration and the health of Spokane’s urban canopy.

In addition, two members of the workgroup have formally joined the City Council's Water Resource Collaboration Group to develop ten-year targets for water conservation and a drought response plan.

Each of these projects supports the group’s larger mission to analyze how natural resource management policy directly, and indirectly, affects the City's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience in the face of climate change.

For more information on the Sustainability Action Subcommittee and to sign up for our newsletter, visit our website.

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