Kids give pollinator populations a helping hand

NatureKids BC is launching a new pollinator citizen science project this week.

  • May. 15, 2018 8:30 a.m.

NatureKids BC is launching a new pollinator citizen science project this week that encourages kids and their families all over British Columbia to collect data on local pollinators.

The project will provide opportunities for children to get involved in real science and learning about nature on their doorstep.

Through pollinator surveys and education materials, children will learn about wild pollinators and how to identify them.

They will collect data on the abundance and diversity of bees, wasps, and butterflies in green spaces in their local area through data collection events and be encouraged to get involved in stewardship activities that increase pollinator habitat.

Pollinators in British Columbia include insects such as beetles, wasps, flies, butterflies and bees that distribute pollen from one flower to another as they forage and as a result fertilize plants.

Bees and other pollinators are a key component of global biodiversity because they play a vital role in maintaining wild ecosystems as well as pollinate plants that produce food (crops, fruits, nuts and seeds) that wildlife and humans rely on to survive.

Worldwide, pollinator populations are declining with parallel declines in the plants that rely on them for pollination. Both wild and domesticated pollinators are suffering from a range of threats including diseases, pesticide exposure, malnutrition, habitat loss and climate change.

Erin Udal, Pollinator Citizen Science Coordinator with NatureKids BC, says: “Pollinators are a critical component of our environment both here in B.C. and globally and it takes all of us to help protect them and their essential habitats. Through this citizen science initiative, youth all across B.C. can contribute to generating local knowledge and awareness and can help our communities make more informed conservation decisions.”

Louise Pedersen, Executive Director with NatureKids BC, adds: “Citizen science is an opportunity to dive into a new universe for children and it’s a great educational tool that harnesses the intrinsic curiosity of children for the natural world. It’s incredibly powerful when children come to understand that they can make a real difference.”

To get involved with NatureKids BC’s pollinator citizen science project and to download instructions and pollinator ID information, visit www.naturekidsbc.ca/pollinators.

NatureKids BC’s pollinator youth citizen science project is supported by the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, TD Friends of the Environment and Nature Canada.

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