Firefighters collecting toys for Sri Lanka trip – Richmond Review

Two dozen local firefighters will be helping build a medical and dental clinic at Sahana Children’s Village in Sri Lanka starting late next month, and they’re hoping to spread cheer to area children by bringing along toys for everyone they encounter.

And members of Richmond Fire Fighters Local 1286 are hoping the public will once again come forward to donate toys to the effort.

“The response we have received in previous years has been overwhelming and we are hoping for that again,” said organizer Amar Gottenbos. “We will be handing out toys to every child we can, at the work site, at schools, hospitals and in the villages. We are asking for the public to donate toys that we can easily transport to Sri Lanka.”

The team of local firefighters will be travelling to Sri Lanka in late February and early March. They will be working with AIM International, a non-profit, non-governmental agency headquartered in Vancouver, and Global Action, which operates in 75 countries.

via Firefighters collecting toys for Sri Lanka trip – Richmond Review.

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Posted in Bees in the News

Town hall abuzz with workers – News – North Shore News

David Macdonald carries the first of two hives of honeybees onto the roof of the District of North Vancouver\’s municipal hall. Photograph by: photo Michael Wei

THE District of North Vancouver got sweeter last month with the addition of thousands of honey bees on the roof of municipal hall.

“The bees, they’re the canary in the coal mine and they’re dying off,” said David Macdonald, the beekeeper charged with overseeing two hives totalling between 30,000 and 50,000 bees on a platform on municipal hall.

The hives are particularly important in light of the Colony Collapse Disorder which has ravaged the honey bee population in the United States, resulting in losses exceeding 40 per cent of the bee population since 2007, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Our environment’s under attack, and we can take some small, incremental steps as individuals to make our community more livable,” Macdonald explained.

The local bee population has also taken a hard hit according to Eric Stromgren, first vice-president with the B.C. Honey Producers’ Association.

“We’ve been having major colony losses in B.C. since the winter of 2005/2006, at least,” Stromgren said.

While the high losses don’t constitute Colony Collapse Disorder, Stromgren said an average of 30 per cent of B.C. hives have been lost each year.

Part of the blame for the declining bee population resides with the limited agriculture that dominates many major farms, according to Macdonald.

“You’ve got these gigantic farms and it’s only one crop, and it’s a desert for bees,” he said. “The maintaining of bees by the hobby beekeeper is what’s going to save them.”

The bees tend to roam within an approximate fivekilometre radius of the rooftop hive, according to Macdonald.

“Rooftop beekeeping is great because there are so many varied sources of pollen and nectar,” he said.

Macdonald said he’s hopeful gardeners in the community will do their part to help the hive.

“What people can do in the community is they can plant bee-friendly gardens,” he said.

Macdonald recommended cutting out chemicals and pesticides while planting durable flowers and plants to help the bee population thrive.

via Town hall abuzz with workers – News – North Shore News.

Posted in Bees in the News, Hives for Haiti News

Firefighters hope to create a buzz in Haiti – Richmond Review

It’s been more than three years since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people and leaving more than a million people homeless in the Caribbean island country.

Today, long after the news media left and foreign aid dried up, Haiti remains very much in recovery mode.

A pair of local firefighters are hoping to export more than just their muscles when they join a larger group of Richmond firefighters on a trip to Haiti to build a school room for an orphanage in early 2014.

Dave MacDonald, who will be joined by fellow Richmond Fire-Rescue firefighter Brian Coombs, are planning to bring local expertise that will help the people of Haiti sustain their own needs for the long term.

During a trip last month to Haiti, where they were to help with an orphage, plans changed. Instead the pair connected with a Haitian man named Johnny, who served as the translator, and they immersed themselves in the food program.

“A lot of these people are under nourished, and can’t afford to feed themselves properly,” said Coombs, who noted that members of Richmond Fire-Rescue have participated in other charitable projects to developing countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and El Salvador.

While working in the food program, and visiting various tent villages, they learned that feral bee colonies were being destroyed for their honey.

MacDonald, a beekeeper, immediately recognized the lost opportunity of turning those bee hives into sustainable, replenishing sources of honey, and the key loss of the bees as an important polinating tool for food crops.

via Firefighters hope to create a buzz in Haiti – Richmond Review.

Posted in Bees in the News, Hives for Haiti News

District of North Vancouver Go Green Support

Brad Snelling, Head of the District of North Vancouver Go Green Team, announces fundraising support of Hives for Haiti.

Posted in Bees in the News, Hives for Haiti News