Community spirit and pollinators themes of 2020 Coquitlam in Bloom

Whether at home in your garden or in a park with someone dear, there are dozens of fun ways to join Coquitlam in Bloom and raise community spirit this year.

Even the busiest birds, bats and bees are doing their part as the program focuses on their vital role as pollinators. And through the CoquitlamSPIRIT initiative, residents, volunteers and businesses are coming together socially while staying physically apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coquitlam in Bloom, which is an integral part of the City’s Communities in Bloom competition entry, helps support civic pride, beautification and environmental responsibility. “It is about keeping the city healthy, whole and blooming,” says Wendy Wiederick, parks operations manager. “We take it as a reflection of our true community spirit.”

This year, Coquitlam is continuing its annual Communities in Bloom tradition with an entry in the Circle of Excellence category for past national winners. In addition, the city is compiling entries for the special achievement award categories such as Environmental Action, Winterlife (such as Lights at Lafarge) and Youth Involvement (such as The Pollinator Project).

There are lots of ways for Coquitlam residents to get involved in the 2020 entry.

The city has installed eight “pollinator selfie stations” at parks where people can snap photos of themselves and post them to social media tagging #coquitlaminbloom and #CoquitlamSPIRIT to inspire others.

Photos of pollinators in gardens and other green spaces can be sent to parkspark@coquitlam.ca or posted on social media using the same hashtags.

Residents and park visitors will also find signs at pollinator-friendly gardens at local parks with fun and interesting facts to help the community better understand the important role pollinators play in supporting plant life and food security.

For example, did you know that certain plants, such as tomatoes, are pollinated through vibration and rely on bumblebees for “buzz pollination”, and that almost 90 per cent of flowering plants need pollinators to reproduce?

Residents are encouraged to help pollinators in the work they do by planting flowering plants in their gardens and avoiding the use of pesticides. Keeping pollinators healthy and happy is crucial — their work supports three-quarters of the world’s food crops and almost all ornamental flowering plants.

“In Coquitlam, we’re proud of our green and natural spaces, our gardens,” Wiederick says. “Pollinators are the foundation to that, so we need to take care of them.”

CoquitlamSPIRIT is also one of the main pillars for this year’s Communities in Bloom entry. Introduced earlier this year as part of the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative offers an extensive library of free online activities and resources to support community well-being.

People of all ages can participate in arts and crafts, fitness at home and safe outdoor experiences, as well as community supports such as a seniors’ meal delivery service and phone-buddy program.

Wiederick says CoquitlamSPIRIT’s themes of caring, connections and community align perfectly with the goals of Coquitlam in Bloom.

“It’s really about that civic pride element,” she says. “Our staff are proud to work here. And our residents are proud to live here and be part of Coquitlam.”

A great example occurred recently when the city’s parks department had extra plants from one of its flowerbeds and during meal service deliveries was able to distribute roughly 400 begonias with info cards about pollinators to seniors across the city.

Thoughtful efforts like that have helped Coquitlam in Bloom gain global recognition, including last year when it claimed first place in the international Communities in Bloom competition for the community’s civic pride and beautification efforts.

The 2019 program focused on youth, youth initiatives and keeping the city clean for future generations to enjoy.

To learn more about Coquitlam in Bloom and how you can participate, visit coquitlam.ca/cib.

Check out pollinator selfie stations at these locations:

Como Lake Park (700 Gatensbury St.)
Crestwood Park (907 Crestwood Dr.)
Glen Park (1149 Westwood St.)
Good Neighbour Park (1415 Foster Ave.)
The Inspiration Garden at Town Centre Park (1299 Pinetree Way)
Mackin Park (1046 Brunette Ave.)
Rochester Park (1390 Rochester Ave.)
Victoria Park (3435 Victoria Dr.)

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