Community programs in parks

Get involved in community park programs from spring to fall. Read about our activities from the past year (PDF).


On this page

  1. Bee City
  2. Community vegetable gardens
  3. Partners in Parks program
  4. Community plantings

Bee City

The City of Waterloo is recognized as a Bee City due to our efforts to support native pollinators and their habitat. We do this through education and community stewardship on municipal parkland.

Visit Bee City Canada to learn more about the program and take the Canada-wide Pollinator Protection Pledge!

Waterloo's Pollinator Working Group

The City of Waterloo's Pollinator Working Group provides educational experiences and park stewardship activities relating to native pollinators and their habitat.

Check the events calendar for upcoming activities, or subscribe to our Bee City e-newsletter.

Become a Pollinator Working Group volunteer

If available, volunteer openings will be posted on our volunteering page in January. For more information, view the Working Group's terms of reference below.

Pollinator Working Group terms of reference

Our goal

The role of the City of Waterloo’s Pollinator Working Group is to support Bee City Canada program initiatives in Waterloo, committing annually to the following:

  • stewardship: create, improve and maintain pollinator habitat on municipal parkland through community planting and managing invasive non-native plant species
  • educate the public about native pollinators at local events within Waterloo Region
  • celebrate native pollinators during National Pollinator Week (3rd week of June) or at other times
Structure

Waterloo's pollinator working group consists of up to 12 adult volunteers and a city staff liaison from Parks, Forestry and Cemetery Services. Volunteer roles include:

  • chair
  • secretary
  • workday coordinator
  • education coordinator
  • community outreach
  • member at large

The city staff liaison provides direction and guidance regarding event opportunities and work plan initiatives, technical support for park stewardship activities, administrative support and assistance with city promotions and design work.

The long-term plan and objectives of this staff working group will be reviewed by city staff every 5 years or as required. Dissolution of the working group may be triggered if Bee City Canada designation no longer exists, tasks or mandate have been completed or following a program review process.

Meetings and community involvement

The City of Waterloo’s Pollinator Working Group hold monthly meetings on the first Thursday of the month (from 6 to 8 p.m.). Meetings generally take place within a city facility but may be held virtually via Microsoft Teams at the discretion of the city staff liaison. Google Drive is used for planning and sharing information. These meetings involve planning our involvement in community events and are not open to public participation.

The working group plan their involvement in local community events within Waterloo Region where they offer educational displays and hands-on activities to educate youth and adults about native pollinators and habitat. The working group host community stewardship activities within parks in Waterloo, held weekday evenings from 4 to 6 p.m. or Saturday morning or afternoon. Working group volunteers assist at a minimum of one event or stewardship activity per month from May to October.

Appointment
  • when a position vacancy exists, a volunteer recruitment notice will be published on the city's volunteering page and other sources typically during the month of January of each year
  • to be eligible for consideration, interested applicants must:
    • read and understand the Terms of Reference and volunteer position description
    • complete a volunteer application form and submit a resume with two references
  • Volunteer Services and the city staff liaison will review all applications, carry out interviews and reference checks and recommend appointments
Pollinator Working Group volunteer qualifications
  • must be 18 years of age or older, with preference given to those living, working or studying in the Kitchener-Waterloo area
  • experience or interest with native pollinators, educating youth and adults, event planning
  • willing to work cooperatively with other working group volunteers and city staff
  • available for monthly meetings and to assist at monthly events and activities on weekends or weekday evenings from May to October
  • able to undertake moderate physical exertion at events and stewardship activities
  • good written and verbal communication skills
  • good organizational skills
  • position is a minimum one-year term based on your enthusiasm, attendance and productivity

Community vegetable gardens

Find volunteer-run gardens at these local parks and public spaces:

To learn more about a garden or request a plot, visit the Community Garden Council of Waterloo Region Directory.

Starting a community vegetable garden

Learn how to start a community vegetable garden with our guide (PDF). If you want to start a new garden or volunteer, email gardens@waterloo.ca


Partners in Parks program

Make a difference in your neighbourhood park through a one-time group activity or a long-term community project.

Organize an activity

Connect with nature and help care for our natural environment. Group leaders (18+) can organize a one-time stewardship activity in a city park from May to October:

  • we provide tools, resources and technical expertise
  • you recruit participants and collaborate with city staff 

Review the options below and register your group at least one month in advance. Registration opens March 1.

Activities include:

Register for a stewardship activity


Long-term park projects

Long-term park improvement projects help build community, engage the neighbourhood and enhance green spaces. They involve ongoing maintenance from spring to fall for a 3 to 5-year renewable term.

Plan your project with these application deadlines:

  • March 31 for a spring or summer project (May 1 to August 31)
  • May 31 for a fall project (September 1 to October 31)
Follow these steps to submit your project proposal:
  1. Plan your long-term park project using the Partners in Park program guide (PDF).
  2. Select a project:
  3. Contact stewardship@waterloo.ca to discuss a new idea or for more information.

Apply for a long-term park project


Community plantings

During September and October, our Pollinator Working Group and Friends of Waterloo Park organize small community planting events in natural areas in neighbourhood parks.

Gather your family and friends to dig in and plant native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. 

These 2-hour events:

  • are neighbourhood-focused and designed for small groups
  • are suitable for all ages since small, manageable plant materials and hand tools are used
  • require moderate physical exertion like bending, lifting up to 10 lbs and walking on uneven terrain in natural areas
  • require that a parent or adult guardian supervise all participants under 18

The city provides an orientation, leads and monitors the activities, and supplies equipment and refreshments. Participants need to:

  • wear closed-toe footwear and appropriate clothing for natural areas
  • bring your own water bottle

Learn more about native pollinators and healthy habitats, meet new people and help green our community, together. Stay tuned for details of upcoming events each fall.