Speak for the Bees banner, with acknowledgement to TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

Speak for the Bees

Lecture Series & Programs, 2020-21

When Milton Public Library conducted its series of Community Conversations, we heard you loud and clear: Miltonians are passionate about environmental issues. Whether it was students participating in climate strikes in their schools, or grandparents worried about the kind of future they were leaving behind for their grandchildren, environmental consciousness was a key priority across all of our conversations.

Milton Public Library was delighted to host a series of virtual lectures and events under the Speak for the Bees banner, with generous support from the TD Friends of the Environment FoundationSpeak for the Bees was both a play on Dr. Seuss's cautionary tale, The Lorax, and a nod to our award-winning brand identity. In 2019, MPL launched its bee logo, which symbolizes the library as a hive of activity and teamwork, where the community comes together to be inspired.

Speak for the Bees invited participants of all ages to engage with our environmentally-themed speakers: to ask questions, to think critically, and to get informed on how to cope with the current climate emergency. Most importantly, we talked about how to save our planet and the bees. Please click on any of the programs below to learn more.

  • Diverse Ways of Knowing Nature: Video Showcase

    Diverse Ways of Knowing Nature: Speak for the Bees Wrap-up

    Artist Video Showcase Wrap up for the Speak for the Bees series with project facilitator Jennifer Marshman.

    Beyond formal presentations, lectures, peer reviewed journal articles, and popular media, there are diverse ways to engage ourselves with the natural world around us. Every day we hear more about the many ecological crises on the planet. Most recently we have seen how human activity is diminishing the health of ecosystems and wildlife populations which helps to create the conditions for the emergence of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. This video showcase will explore how artists use different mediums to express their personal relationships with nature. These diverse approaches can help us to understand that we all have unique and meaningful ways of connecting and engaging with nature.  

    About the facilitator: As part of its Laurier Lecture series in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, MPL was honoured to host Jennifer Marshman, RN, PhD candidate, Faculty of Science, Wilfrid Laurier University, for her talk "The ‘Bee City’ Movement: Shifting the Doomsday Narrative to Hope."  We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer back to close Speak for the Bees!  


    Alanah Jewell, Indigenous artist and organizer
    Andrea Elena, watercolour artist
    Ann Sanderson, science illustration
    Jennette Reid, metalsmith
    Gaia's Gardens, landscape artists

    Ages: Adults

    Program Date: Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m.

  • Vegetable Gardening for the Absolute Beginner

    Vegetable Gardening for the Absolute Beginner

    Many people are interested in starting a home-based vegetable patch to be more environmentally sustainable...but they're not sure where or how to begin. Would you like to learn how to grow your own vegetables, while supporting pollinators at the same time? Join this session to learn how to make your garden grow!

    Helen Stephenson, Community Garden Coordinator with Halton Food will share tips and tricks to get your growing season off to a great start. Gain the confidence you need to start your own garden at home!

    Ages: Adults

    Program Date: Thursday, April 8 at Noon

  • Climate Action Kits: Bee Houses

    Climate Action Kits for Kids

    Interested in helping the environment? Join us as we learn about bees, 3D design a bee house, and then build and code our own automated bee counter! Participants will be able to borrow Climate Action Kits that include the necessary motors and electrical components, but participants will be required to gather the remaining supplies themselves (such as boxes, paper towel rolls, tape, etc.); a detailed list will be sent out prior to the start of the program.

    Participants must be available to pick up the necessary kits ahead of the program. The kits must be returned once the session is over. Detailed instructions will be sent out prior to the pick-up date.

    Ages: 12-15

    Dates: April 15 and April 22

  • Take & Make: Mason Bee Houses

    Native bee populations are declining, mainly due to loss of habitat...but creating new homes and nesting sites for native bees can increase their numbers and attract new species!

    Pick up a kit from us to take home, and try your hand at making a simple Mason Bee House. After you hang your bee house up outside, try the included STEM extension activities. Best suited for ages 6-10, with adult help using scissors and glue (not included). One kit per card.

    Registrants will receive additional information on how/where to pick up the kits, as well as how to share your designs and creations with us!

    Pickup Date: April 16, 2021 @ Beaty Branch

  • Pollinator Power with Conservation Halton

    Bees, butterflies, beetles, ants and more! Pollination is at the heart of the food web and we are going in search of the creatures responsible! Special guest appearances by Bushy the Squirrel and Mountsberg’s very own beekeeper! For ages 6-10 with curriculum connections for Grades 1-3.

    Program Date: Saturday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m.

  • Climate Action Kits: Seed Planters

    Climate Action Kits for Kids

    Interested in helping the environment? Join us as we learn about deforestation and then build and code our own automated seed-planters! Participants will be able to borrow Climate Action Kits that include the necessary motors and electrical components, but participants will be required to gather the remaining supplies themselves (such as boxes, paper towel rolls, tape, etc.); a detailed list will be sent out prior to the start of the program.

    Participants must be available to pick up the necessary kits on the evening of Wednesday, January 20, and the kits must be returned once the session is over. Detailed instructions will be sent out prior to the pick-up date.

    Ages: 12-15

    Dates: January 20 (Pickup); January 27 (Program); January 28 (Program).

  • Home Energy Challenge

    The average home in Ontario spent $2,165 on home energy in 2019 (Source: Financial Accountability Office of Ontario). Have you ever looked around your home and wondered how much electricity your appliances and electronics are using?

    In partnership with Milton Hydro, you can borrow a Kill-a-WattTM device from Milton Public Library, and find out just how much electricity your individual appliances and electronics are using. Visit our catalogue to place a hold and pick one up at Main Library or Beaty Branch today!

  • "The Right to Be Cold" by Sheila Watt-Cloutier

    "The Right to Be Cold"
    Environmental Book Club and Author Event

    Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s book The Right to Be Cold explores the parallels between safeguarding the Arctic and the survival of Inuit culture—and ultimately the world—in the face of past, present, and future environmental degradation.

    Watt-Cloutier passionately argues that climate change is a human rights issue and one that links everyone on the planet. The Right to Be Cold is the culmination of Watt-Cloutier’s regional, national, and international work over the last twenty-five years, weaving historical traumas and current issues such as climate change, leadership, and sustainability in the Arctic into her personal story to give a coherent and holistic voice to an important subject.

    The #HCCReads campaign is a joint project with the Halton Regional libraries, Greening Sacred Spaces Halton-Peel, and the Halton Climate Collective (HCC). 

    The campaign was launched on September 28 and culminated in a virtual event featuring Sheila Watt-Cloutier on November 19. Following the talk, the community asked thousands of questions. We sent the ten most outstanding questions to Sheila, and will post her answers shortly. We are especially proud of students Jenna and Keila from Craig Kielburger High School in Milton whose questions were selected to be sent to Sheila. Stay tuned to hear more!

    Check out the top ten video questions, and follow @haltonclimate to be a part of the conversation. Pick up your copy of The Right to be Cold by placing a hold, or download a copy from cloudLibrary.

  • Environmental Philosophy for Kids

    Environmental Philosophy for Kids

    There are as many ways to think and talk about the environment as there are pebbles in a stream. So where do smart kids start? By asking BIG questions! How closely related are human beings to other parts of nature? Do plants and animals have thoughts and feelings like we do? How can we tell?

    If your little thinker has big questions about the environment, this program is for them. Join Red T Media for a lively discussion about environmental philosophy for kids. They'll be thinking...and thinking green!

    Ages: 7-12

    Date: October 20, 6:30 pm on Zoom

  • Bee-Mushroomed: How Mushrooms Can Save the World

    Bee-Mushroomed: How Mushrooms Can Save the World

    In 2014, Paul Stamets (leading mycologist and TED Talk presenter), Dr. Steve Sheppard (Chair, Department of Entomology, Washington State University) and the Washington State Beekeepers Association teamed up in a research initiative called BeeFriendly™ to help reverse devastating declines in the global bee population that are critically threatening the world’s food security.

    In 2015, experiments began where honey bees drank different mushroom mycelium extracts. Research is indicating that mushroom mycelium extracts provide essential nutrition that confers an immune benefit to bees. This nutritional support then translates into improved hive health.

    Due to the increase in monocultured landscapes and the loss of biodiversity, bees have lost access to many sources of nutrition that they might have benefited from in the past. Mycelium extracts may prove to be a powerful support for bees as they endure more challenging conditions in our ecosystems. Come sit in on this wonderful webinar led by Loni Ronnebaum of Fungi Perfecti to learn more.

    Ages: Fun for All Ages

    Date: Friday, October 23 @ 8:00 p.m. via GoToWebinar

Canoe Pollinator Garden at the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton

Culture Days 2019: Planning Committee for the Canoe Garden formed including Town of Milton, Milton Public Library, ArtsMilton, Milton & District Horticultural Society, Halton Environmental Network, ArtHouse Halton.

Culture Days September 2019: Families are invited to participate in painting and designing the Canoe, with artistic guidance provided ArtHouse, and environmental education provided by Halton Environmental Network.

September 2020: Canoe installed and planted at FirstOntario Arts Center, with plants sourced from Kayanase Greenhouse, Six Nations. Ongoing care of the plants provided by Milton & District Horticultural Society. Ongoing environmental education supported by Milton Public Library, Halton Environmental Network and Milton & District Horticultural Society.

Canoe Gardens are a beautiful and environmentally sustainable addition to any backyard or community space. They not only repurpose old canoes that would otherwise rot in landfills, they create a small ecosystem filled with local and native plants, insects, and pollinators. Due to invasive species, land use changes, and changes in the environment, diversity of native plant species has dramatically decreased. By creating a safe space for these plants to live, we are helping native pollinators rebuild this lost diversity.

Within Halton Region, there are Canoe Gardens, including this one at the Milton Public Library, waiting to be discovered! With the help of community involvement, we were able to make these gardens as gorgeous and successful as they are. The partnership between ArtHouse and Halton Environmental Network uses art as a means of inspiring environmental action in the community.

This sense of unity and team work directly connects within the habitat created in the canoe. By planting these gardens throughout local neighbourhoods and public spaces, we are reminding the community of the beauty that comes from native ecosystems.

Thank you to CogecoTV for providing media coverage of our installation day and for highlighting the importance of protecting the environment!

To learn more about other Canoe Gardens around Halton, please visit the Halton Environmental Network website.

This article was contributed by Alex Blundell, a Grade 12 student from Garth Webb Secondary School's Environmental Specialist High Skills Major program, and a co-op student with the Halton Environmental Network.

"I will speak with my friends about global warming, and teach my sister about it."
Speak for the Bees Participant
"What I learnt from the program was to think deep."
Speak for the Bees Participant
"I will try to educate my friends and family about the adverse effects of climate change and try to grow more plants and flowers that will attract bees and help pollinate."
Speak for the Bees Participant
"I have already talked to some of my family about what I learned and they were not aware either! If they spread the same information to friends and neighbours then we will begin to take action on climate change…even if it's a little change….it will grow!"
Speak for the Bees Participant
"I would like to do more gardening the backyard, to encourage more native plants and wildlife...create a mini ecosystem...and in doing so, rely less on farmed plants that have a heavier carbon footprint."
Speak for the Bees Participant