Wild for Bees Launch at Fairmont Waterfront-9

One third of the food we eat depends on bees for pollination. How we manage and protect our world is vital to the survival of bees. With this in mind, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, along with Burt’s Bees have taken a key step in preserving their population for generations to come.

Solitary bees differ from honey bees in that they live on their own — finding a safe habitat can be challenging. Habitats are dwindling due to loss and fragmentation, putting solitary pollinator bees at risk. Without a safe spot to built nests, their numbers too are in decline.

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Enter WILD FOR BEES, a project launched last year in Toronto. In just one year, 16 uniquely-built bee hotels have been produced across Canada, totalling 21 coast to coast.

Vancouver hotels are no stranger to bee gardens. The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel began theirs nine years ago with no idea as to how integral the project – and its outcome – would become to keeping the bee population afloat.

According to Vicki Wojcik, Pollinator Partnership’s Director of Research, “if every Canadian household were to build a bee hotel, we would have close to 17 million new bee habitats. If each of these were used by one bee to make a nest for 10 baby bees, that’s 170 million more native bees to pollinate our food and flowers.”

Wild for Bees - cutting the ribbon
[Cutting the ribbon on the new bee hotel]

Fairmont Hotels are committed to improving the overall health and conservation of bee species globally, having built over 20 apiaries and eight pollinator bee hotels at properties around the world.

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A leading Canadian architectural firm, Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building (Sustainable.TO) partnered with the project, creating the design and facilitating the construction of the hotels. Vancouver’s own Hives for Humanity built Fairmont Waterfront’s bee hotel.

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The bee hotels use lots of locally-sourced materials, including a woven nest made of natural fibers, East Hastings-sourced fire bricks, and wood donated from the Haida nation in Haida Gwaii, making this a five-star habitat for our little black and yellow friends. As early pollination in the season is vital to kick-start crops, the hotel will likely see full occupancy by next spring.

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Support our local pollinator bees and secure our urban food sources is the message here. Who knows, we may become a self-sustaining city one day because of them!

As June is Pollinator Month, Burt’s Bees has launched a new, limited-edition kit, The Honeymoon Suite ($14.99). Through month’s end, 100% of proceeds from the sale of the kit will go directly toward Pollinator Partnership, to expand the WILD FOR BEES hotel initiative.

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This sweet little boxed set includes lip balm, body lotion, facial cleansing cream, foot cream and hand salve. What’s better, they’re all under 100 ml, perfect for travelling this summer. All Burt’s Bees products contain beeswax, honey, plus hundreds of ingredients found in nature.

Honey-infused ice cream, Fairmont Waterfront Hotel
[Honey-infused ice cream, available at Fairmont Waterfront Hotel]

Also in celebration of Pollinator Month, participating Fairmont properties across Canada will offer specially crafted pollinator menus and signature drinks. Burt’s Bees will be present at select Fairmont hotels during the month of June to provide family-friendly educational experiences to guests and community members who want to learn more about pollination. Burt’s Bees all-natural lip balms will also be sold on site.

Bee Butler Michael King Wild for Bees Launch at Fairmont Waterfront-8
[Bee Butler Michael King; honeybee display on third-floor terrace]

No luxury hotel would be complete without a butler! Bee Butler Michael King is onsite to help manage the project and offers guests tours of the third-floor terrace beehives (containing over 500k honeybees!) from May to September. Learn some fascinating bee facts via Michael’s blog.

Since launching WILD FOR BEES in 2012, Burt’s Bees and partners have raised more than $50,000 for Pollinator Partnership Canada. Burt’s Bees recently set the bar even higher by aiming to raise an additional $125,000 by year’s end.

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