Get dirty at Douglas College as you learn about urban gardening

New West residents are invited to roll up their sleeves and get dirty at Douglas College.

The college’s Institute of Urban Ecology is hosting the annual UNIBUG – User Network for Insect Biology in the Urban Garden – forum on Saturday, March 12. The event celebrates urban gardens and informs the public about sustainable gardening approaches.

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“We hope that people will take away a sense of the beauty of urban garden,” Veronica Wahl, co-coordinator the Institute of Urban Ecology, said in a press release. “This forum will provide both information about sustainable gardening and an opportunity to meet like-minded people with an interest in urban gardens.”

The March 12 forum gets underway at 10 a.m. with a panel of local experts who will provide advice on beneficial insects, including pollinators like native wild bees and honeybees, and pest-eating biological control insects. Panel members will also provide tips on how to green your yard, garden in small spaces and get involved in community gardening.

The forum also includes hands-on activities, such as making seed paper. It will finish with a closing reception at the Amelia Douglas Gallery at 11:30, a.m. where the Green Links 2016 art exhibit will be showcased.

“Urban gardens provide benefits to both people and local wildlife,” Wahl said. “Our participants know about some of these benefits, but most are keen to learn new things, ask questions, share stories and discuss strategies.”

The forum marks the fifth anniversary of UNIBUG, which was launched as a way of engaging community volunteers in scientific activities and research.

“It is very rewarding to reach the five-year mark of the UNIBUG project,” Wahl said. “A great deal of work both by college staff and community volunteers has made this project grow beyond our expectations.”

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