Conference Looks at Turning Landfill Into World's First Pollination Park

March 03, 2008 - News Release

Turning a garbage dump into a bloom-filled haven for birds, butterflies and other pollinating insects is the vision the Guelph Pollination Initiative has for a local landfill site.

In an effort to educate others about this vision to create the world's first pollination park, the initiative is staging a daylong symposium March 7 at the Guelph Youth Music Centre open to anyone interested in the project.

Hosted by the University of Guelph and the City of Guelph, the event will focus on plans to turn Guelph's Eastview landfill into an urban habitat for pollinators by designing the 100 acres to include plant species that attract pollinators.

The Guelph project involves U of G experts in urban landscape architecture, plant agriculture, integrative biology, environmental biology and geography who will work with city planners and landfill management engineers.

The goal is for the site to be a model for future pollination parks, intended to help stem a worldwide decline in pollinators that has many people worried about future food supplies.

The event begins at 9 a.m., with registration at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $5, including lunch.

"We want Guelph residents and people who are interested in the project to come out," said Prof. Karen Landman of the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, who is one of the lead researchers in the pollination park project. "It’s about bringing people with a variety of backgrounds together to generate ideas about how pollination habitat can be built back into the landscape. Anyone can play a role in rebuilding the environment."

Landman will speak on design options for landfill sites. Also presenting from the University are environmental biology graduate student Marianna Horn, who will talk about the importance of pollination, and engineering professor Ed McBean, who will discuss the features of landfill sites.

Other speakers include Julianna Tuell, of Michigan State University, who will focus on native plants and their pollinators; Gordon Frankie of the University of California, Berkeley, who will describe urban pollination in California; and Steven Handel of Rutgers University, who will discuss restoration of landfill sites. Guelph city councillor Vicki Beard will also speak.

The general public is also invited to attend the March 8 Canadian Pollinator Protection Initiative Meeting, where experts in pollination and pollinator habitat will share ideas. This event begins at 9 a.m. at the Guelph Youth Music Centre. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and costs $5.

For more information and to register in advance for the two events, send e-mail to

Peter Kevan
Department of Environmental Biology
519-824-4120, Ext. 52479

Karen Landman
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
519-824-4120, Ext. 53748

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338,, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1