Pilot project: Nest boxes for solitary bees on several billboards

A Silk, PATTISON Outdoor and Université de Montréal initiative

MONTREAL, May 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On World Bee Day, Silk, the food brand and PATTISON Outdoor Advertising announce the launch of a pilot project in partnership with a research team from Université de Montréal. As part of an environmental approach to biodiversity, this pilot project aims to study solitary bee populations and pollination at newly installed nest boxes at ten select billboard locations across Montréal.

Throughout the summer, Silk’s colourful Out-of-Home campaign will house solitary bee nesting boxes, made locally by Atelier Zabie, a company in Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec. The purpose of the boxes is to allow pollinators to lay their eggs.

“By placing some of the nest boxes near flowerbeds, we will be able to collect some data. This pilot project will help better understand the environmental characteristics that influence the presence of urban pollinators. The idea is to monitor bees during the summer and then, in the fall, collect straws – the birth cells for the bees – with larvae and pupae in order to identify their content. The goal is to determine which species use these nest boxes and to study the rate of parasitism they contain, depending on their location, proximity to flowerbeds, their elevation, and other factors. The data collected during this pilot project could, in a second phase, lead to a more in-depth scientific study of solitary bees in the city,” explains Étienne Normandin-Leclerc, entomologist at Université de Montréal.

“This local campaign is the result of a great collaboration between all stakeholders and perfectly illustrates Silk’s commitment to contribute to initiatives that support the survival and growth of pollinators, which are essential to biodiversity,” explains Geneviève Bolduc, Marketing Director, Plant-based products category at Danone Canada. “With the slogan, ‘The taste that has your buds buzzing’, the communications campaign will showcase Silk’s plant-based products while highlighting the presence of the nest boxes for bees in the pilot project,” she concluded.

“PATTISON Outdoor is proud to partner with Silk and the research team at Université de Montréal to bring this initiative to life. In addition to promoting a brand like Silk that cares about biodiversity at many levels, we are thrilled to offer space on our Outdoor displays to allow for scientific research on the habitats of pollinating species in high-traffic, urban environments. In the short term, this pilot allows us to set up and evaluate several operational devices to potentially bring this project to a national scale and allow for a larger field of study for the research, and to continue to promote environmental-driven campaigns,” says Dominic Loporcaro, VP/GM, Eastern Region, PATTISON Outdoor Advertising.

About Silk
To further its commitment to more sustainable practices, Silk will source 100% of its almonds from growers who follow the best practices of the Bee Better certification by 2025. In fact, Silk has planted more than 40 linear miles of drought-resistant native plants and flowers in the orchards of their almond supplier, Woold Farms, a California-based B-Corp certified company. These plants provide nesting sites and food for wild pollinators. In addition to supporting bees, these blooming living fences also house a wide range of birds, butterflies, raptors and other wildlife.

About PATTISON Outdoor Advertising
PATTISON Outdoor Advertising, a division of The Jim Pattison Group is Canada’s largest Out-of-Home advertising company. PATTISON Outdoor helps brands and businesses harness the power of Out-of-Home advertising by providing the most comprehensive range of products, markets, insights and customer support services. With its roots reaching back to 1908, PATTISON has been providing innovative solutions for Out-of-Home advertising opportunities with products ranging from traditional billboards to transit, digital, airport, residential, office, and street level formats. PATTISON is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario with over 25 sales offices across the country, providing advertisers unmatched reach and coverage with products available in over 200 markets coast to coast.

About the Entomology Laboratory at Université de Montréal
Since 1965, the Université de Montréal’s entomology laboratory and insect collection have played a central role in the development of a multitude of projects on insect biodiversity in Québec. There are still too many unknowns in the understanding of wild bees in the city, especially on the long-term influences of the urban landscape on these pollinating insects. In this context, the collaboration with Silk and PATTISON will provide important information on the identification of bees and nesting insect species found in urban environments as well as on their general health. The members of the research unit at Université de Montréal are pleased to contribute to this innovative collaboration that highlights a link between the public, industry and science.

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Anne Dongois