When Gordon Cyr started raising mason bees on his seven-acre hobby farm in Oyster River back in 1997, he was just doing it to help his trees produce a bit more fruit.
He certainly didn’t picture turning the bees into a full-time business and going on to be named one of North America’s most dedicated protectors of the environment.
But last week, that’s exactly what happened when Cyr received a letter and certificate from the president and CEO of Pollinator Partnership, the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to pollination and supporting the critters that help with it – extremely important participants in our ecosystem.
Pollinator Partnership is the driving force behind the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), which is a collaborative partnership of over 160 scientists, researchers, government officials and volunteers who encourage the health of both resident and migratory pollinating animals in North America.
Each year they name one person as the recipient of their Pollinator Advocate Award.
“While we are only able to recognize a single nomination with the award, we wanted to recognize your efforts with this certificate of appreciation,” reads the letter from Pollinator Partnership President Val Dolcini that accompanied his certificate. “Please continue all of your good work. It is an inspiration to others and it makes a real difference for our world.” Dolcini also acknowledges “the commitment and spirit you have shown to making our planet a better place for pollinators.”
Cyr’s efforts in creating homes for the lowly mason bee have grown exponentially over the years, and his passion for the little critters has grown right along with it.
“It’s nice to be recognized, I suppose,” the soft-spoken Cyr says. “My father-in-law nominated me and had to send in a resumé of the work I do with the mason bees and all that, and I guess they decided what I do has some importance. I didn’t win, but I got an honourable mention, which is nice.”
For him, it’s never been a question of whether it had importance. And it’s never had more importance than it does these days.
“A lot of people say they have mature fruit trees in full blossom, and they go out there and look for what’s pollinating their flowers and they don’t see anything,” Cyr says. “There’s been a mass decline in insects over the years for some reason. When I was a much younger man, you’d go out in the evenings and by the time you got home you’d have to scrub your windshield. These days that just doesn’t happen, because the insects just aren’t out there like they used to be – and insects are what pollinate.”
So Cyr and his business will just keep on keeping on, he says.
“It’s kind of funny how things go,” he says. “I just kind of started with the mason bees and kept putting one foot in front of the other, and now I believe I’m the largest producer of mason bees in Canada.”
You can find out more about Cyr and his bees at masonbeecentral.com