2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
Smith Blackburn Homestead Pollinator Garden
Located in Lamont County, Alberta, the Smith Blackburn Homestead Pollinator Garden is a wildlife garden within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Design and Process
The Pollinator Garden at the Smith Blackburn Homestead is located within the Beaver Hills UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a designation that indicates a region where people live in harmony with nature. The protected area provides habitat for wildlife and is part of a close network of conserved areas that play an important overall role in maintaining regional biodiversity.
The Pollinator Garden was planted in 2021 to convert an area of invasive plants into an area of habitat for native wildlife, including pollinators. The garden was planted with over 250 native plants to support native species of insects, birds, and mammals.
In addition to the native plants, fallen logs were placed within the garden to provide nesting habitat for solitary bees. When the garden was created, mulch was added to prevent erosion of the exposed soil and to conserve moisture. To reduce energy and resource consumption, local resources were used in the creation of the garden wherever possible.
The Pollinator Garden is weeded manually by volunteers and staff at the Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT). The EALT staff have backgrounds and education in conservation, biology, and ecology who trained volunteer Conservation Land Stewards to maintain the garden using organic land care practices.
The homestead’s natural areas and Pollinator Garden are open to the public to enjoy the benefits of nature. There is an educational sign about the garden and a solitary bee hotel at the site.
The Smith Blackburn Homestead was donated to the Edmonton & Area Land Trust by the great-granddaughter of a homesteader whose family has lived on the site since the early 1900’s. This land is an ecologically rich natural area that has been preserved, stewarded and appreciated by several generations. Historically, the Beaver Hills region was important for the Tsuut’ina, Nehiyawak (Cree), Anishnaabe (Ojibway/Saulteaux), the Nakota Sioux, and the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot).
To learn more about the garden and Homestead, visit the Edmonton & Area Land Trust's website.
Watch the presentation by EALT on the Pollinator Garden.
Photos c/o Edmonton and Area Land Trust
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.See the full list of 2022 recognition recipients here