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The Pollinator Project

Ontario Tech University is located on lands thatThe Bee Box  are covered under the Williams Treaties and the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. The campus is surrounded by hectares of lush greenery and creeks which provide mental and physical health benefits to the community and essential food and shelter to a variety of different pollinators. We take great measures to care for the land and plan infrastructure in a way that supports pollinator populations and educates the community on the importance of native pollinators. 

The wildflowers

The Pollinator Project began in 2016 and we have since planted over 9.5 hectares of pollinator gardens and 21,000 trees. You can support the Pollinator Project by purchasing honey or candles from us (link below). In 2022, we planted 150 trees, expanded pollinator gardens by 7.5 hectares, and upgraded our apiary for honey bee productivity. Our green roofs, bioswales, bat boxes, and orchards sustain a variety of pollinator species. Join us for apiary tours, planting events, and workshops! 

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  • Fun facts
    • Did you know that in addition to bees, other surprising pollinators include butterflies, ants, beetles, moths, hummingbirds, bats, and even the wind? It's a team effort in nature to ensure the vital process of pollination!
    • Different-coloured flowers will attract different kinds of pollinators. Bees often prefer blue and purple-coloured flowers, and hummingbirds enjoy colours like red and pink, while butterflies like bright yellows.
    • A flower's fragrance also attracts pollinators, especially night pollinators such as bats and moths.

When we started our wildflower garden back in 2016, all plants were donated from a variety of garden centers such as McKenzie Seeds, Rekker's Garden Centre, Vandermeer Nursery, and Veseys. Throughout the years, we have been graciously awarded funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation Grant which allowed for the expansion of the wildflower gardens along with increasing the tree canopy with over 300 native and fruit trees. We only plant native species of pollinator plants which includes: black-eyed susan, echinacea, milkweed, aster, common yarrow, evening primrose, and lanceleaf coreopsis.  Planting native plants in wildflower gardens is important because they are well-suited to local weather patterns, provide proper food for fauna, enhance biodiversity, and contribute to the conservation of native plant species. If you are looking to grow your own garden to attract pollinators or grow vegetables, check out the Ontario Tech Library’s Seed Library .
Our bee boxes were set up to house bee colonies that have been growing in the barn walls on the property for years. According to apiarist consultation, the estimated populations of bees that were re-homed in Spring 2016 was 200,000. The university is home to 52 hives on Windfields Farm, including the three hives saved from within the walls of the barns back in 2016. Our hives support huge populations of honey bees and in return, they provide us with honey that you can purchase right here on campus.


Our tree nursery is home to over 500 native coniferous and deciduous trees. A variety of trees are planted annually in the nursery; once these trees become strong enough, we plan on relocating them around campus to provide shade and visual aesthetic.

With the Forests Ontario 50 Million Tree Program and Ethic Trees, our local tree planting partner, 4,410 seedlings were planted in 2020 around the university lands. A total of 7,520 seedlings were planted in 2019 (5,520 Tamarack and 2,000 Eastern White Pine) and in 2018, 8,360 seedlings (1,810 Eastern White Cedar, 265 Red maple, 1,300 Eastern White Pines, 4,985 Tamarack) were planted.Additionally, we also planted species-at-risk trees such as Butternut and Kentucky Coffee. 





Photo Gallery: Communications and Marketing Tree Planting 


In the summer of 2018, Ontario Tech University introduced its vegetable garden at Windfield Farms and it has expanded every year after that. We now grow a variety of vegetables such as peppers, cilantro, basil, lettuce, carrots, and celery. The vegetables get sold to Dining Services on campus as well as 2200 North and any surplus gets donated to the Feed the Need Durham.




Ontario Tech designated a 'Bee City Campus'

In recognition of the university’s pollinator efforts, Bee City Canada designated Ontario Tech a ‘Bee City Campus’ on June 12, 2019. Read our application and the announcement on the Ontario Tech news website. Also check out these two 'Student Speak' articles:

Pollinator team

  • Isabel Savransky, Asset and Sustainability Planner
  • Lia Van Wees, Garden & Grounds Supervisor
  • Ken Bright, Director, OCIS
  • Peter Stoett, PhD, Dean, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities
  • Mary Olaveson, Associate Teaching Professor, Faculty of Science
  • Alex Piliounis, Engineering Outreach Specialist
  • Matt Zantingh, Beekeeper
  • Pariss Garramone, Assistant Teaching Professor, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities
  • Sheila Rhodes, Associate Teaching Professor, Faculty of Education

How can you support the Pollinator Project?

Purchase the university's local honey. Visit the link below for more information. 

Honey Sales