Over the past two months, I have had the opportunity to work at the best job ever! As Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Regional Field Biologist for the Sudbury bumble bee crew, I participated in searching for at-risk native pollinators, to ensure we do not lose our native bumble bees.

Here are the top five of my highlights from this important work during the 2022 season.

Highlight #1

The bumble bees! The absolute best part of this job was working with these amazing pollinators. It was so exciting seeing all the diverse species that Sudbury has to offer. Over the term, we recorded 11 different bumble bee species across the region.

Tri-coloured bumble bee (Bombus temarius). Photo: Metisse Arsenault

Highlight #2

The interest and excitement we received from Sudbury residents was overwhelming. It was wonderful to meet curious locals that had lots of questions and thoughtful words of encouragement for us. We met the most interesting people who taught us many things including the ecological history of Sudbury. These interactions really made this an enriching experience.

Highlight #3

Interacting with our first Bees on Board volunteer Barb was great! Bees on Board is a new volunteer program WPC initiated to aid in transporting bumblebees from our sites in Sudbury and Huntsville down to our Bumble Bee Conservation Lab at African Lion Safari in Cambridge, ON. Barb was so enthusiastic; she did an awesome job transporting brown-belted and yellow-banded bumble bees from Sudbury to Barrie! Her contribution meant that the Sudbury team got a whole extra day to survey.

Metisse and Barb meeting up for the first Bees on Board transfer. Photo: Barb

Highlight #4

Working in the field with volunteers made for some of the most exciting days. During our time together with our several volunteers we got to show them how to catch and ID bumble bees. They helped us capture larger sample sizes which led to a better overview of the population distribution at those specific sites. Our volunteers gave us leads on new local sites to explore and taught us about local birds and other wildlife.

Left, volunteers Olivia and Laura in the field. Photo: Metisse Arseneault. Right, volunteer Steve admiring a caught bumble bee. Photo: Stacey Evans

Highlight #5

Lastly, the various sites we surveyed were a huge highlight of the season. Through this spring, we got to visit sites all throughout Sudbury and the surrounding region. I got to see so much more of the city than I would any other way. We surveyed sites ranging from Bell Park to A.Y.Jackson Lookout. There are so many beautiful natural areas around Sudbury and it was amazing to get to explore such a large variety of them!

Stacey surveying at Laurentian Beach. Photo: Metisse Arseneault

This season working with WPC was a truly amazing experience and it was made all the better by the wonderful people I met and got to work with along the way.

Metisse Arsenault

Field Biologist – National Pollinator Initiative

Metisse joined Wildlife Preservation Canada as a Regional Field Biologist with the bumble bee team. She has worked on population monitoring and bumble bee capture for the captive breeding program. She started working with bees in 2019 and just graduated with a bachelor’s in environmental studies from the University of Waterloo.