SongBird is comprehensive and inspired. Its approach and activities foster the fusion of arts and sciences in an effective manner, unlike many other projects we have seen about nature in the city... The beauty of the holistic approach to urban wildlife habitat, the combination of the arts and sciences, is that it makes the city more physically and emotionally healthy for people as well.
Dr. Valentin Schafer
Executive Director, Institute of Urban Ecology at Douglas College
 
 

 

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BABYLON GARDENS HABITAT CHALLENGE
photos: Beth Carruthers


Welcome to the Babylon Gardens Challenge - a contest to promote songbird-friendly habitat in urban centres. In partnership with the Institute of Urban Ecology at Douglas College and the Roundhouse Arts & Community Centre, SongBird
offered workshops on urban habitat design for small spaces, and annually in the Babylon Challenge, awarded prizes for the best new and previously existing songbird-friendly balcony and rooftop habitat in Vancouver.

THE CHALLENGE (from the 2000 contest)
Situated on the Pacific flyway bird migration route, and the site of the world's largest salmon run on the Fraser River, Vancouver has a unique opportunity to become a truly green city - where the old dichotomy of the city as outside of nature is broken down.

The goal of the Babylon Challenge is to celebrate existing songbird friendly balconies and to encourage new ones; and in the process transform our city into one of the seven wonders of the world: the Gardens of Babylon!

Habitat loss is the single biggest threat to songbird populations, as well as to other crucial pollinator species such as butterflies. Plantings on apartment balconies and rooftops can collectively create walls of vegetation: an oasis of desperately needed food and water for migratory birds and butterflies. Remember that songbird and pollinator friendly means pesticide-free.

HOW TO REGISTER
The contest is open to residents of the Greater Vancouver centre - the area between Boundary Road on the East, the ocean on the West the Fraser River on the South and Burrard Inlet on the North.

Main categories:
1. FOR THOSE WITH EXISTING ROOFTOP AND BALCONY GARDENS ( more than 2 years old )
2. FOR THOSE DEVELOPING NEW GREEN SPACES ( less than 2 years new )

SUB-categories:
· Balconies
· Roof Decks
· Rooftops ( entire )
· Co-ops

REMEMBER THAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE MOST SONGBIRD FRIENDLY SPACES

Contest registration closes July 31st.
Participants may register anytime before July 31st.

Clearly indicate which category & sub-category(s) you are entering. You can also find Babylon brochures containing entry forms at garden centres, community centres and bookstores around Vancouver.

By July 31st we must also receive a photo of your balcony or planting with your name and contact information labelled clearly on the back.

These photographs will be adjudicated and the winners, in each category, will receive prizes from such sponsors as the Avant Gerdener, David Hunter Garden Centres, Dig This, Wild Birds Unlimited, and other bird-friendly businesses.

Finalists will have their photo authenticated by a visit to their roof-top, balcony or window box from a SongBird representative, after which the final decisions will be made.

Prizes will be awarded according to category & sub-category, with a final Grand Prize Draw

Remember, the deadline for registration & photo submissions is July 31st.

A Babylon Award Ceremony will be held annually and there will also be an exhibition of photographs from the Challenge. This event is open to the public, so bring your friends and family!