Native Pollinator Initiative

Ninety per cent of all flowering plants can’t reproduce without the help of pollinators. And those plants, in turn, support thousands of other species. That makes insect pollinators such as butterflies, flies, moths, beetles and bees a cornerstone of natural ecosystems (not to mention crop production).

Several pollinating butterfly and bee species have recently been categorized as at risk in Canada. Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Native Pollinator Initiative — our first nationwide multi-species recovery effort — aims to save these important insects from extinction.

However, doing that means pioneering new approaches: conservation management for insects is a relatively new field in North America.

Since the launch of our program in 2013, we’ve collaborated with numerous partners in Canada, the U.S. and overseas. We’ve established conservation breeding colonies, co-created the website, hosted educational workshops, spearheaded scientific research and supported efforts to improve and/or restore habitat.

Our Recovery Team

Andrea Gielens

Lead Biologist – Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly

Andrea manages the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly recovery program in BC. Andrea has studied in Canada and abroad, including a term at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey. Andrea also manages our captive breeding and release programs for the coastal western painted turtle and Oregon spotted frog.

Andrea Gielens

Taylor Kerekes

Lead Biologist – Native Pollinator Initiative

Taylor joined the Native Pollinator Initiative in June 2023 and manages the native pollinator recovery program across Canada. Taylor was introduced to the world of bees during her BSc in Biology at York University. She is currently wrapping up her MSc at York University which focused on bumble bee abundance, diversity, and floral use. With this knowledge she hopes to continue to support pollinator conservation across Canada.

Project Staff

Cole Blair

Ontario Program Coordinator – Native Pollinator Initiative

Cole’s time with WPC began as a graduate student at the University of Toronto, where he researched harmful parasites in bumble bees (he looked at a LOT of bee poop). He has since played a supporting role as a technician in both the field and in our bumble bee Conservation Breeding Lab. As the Ontario Program Coordinator, Cole hopes to demonstrate to others that any conservation engagement – no matter how big or small – can go a long way.

Parker Smale

Lead Bumble Bee Breeding Technician

Parker’s passion for insects can be traced back to one fateful field entomology course, which also inspired his own entomology blog. As the lead technician for WPC’s bumble bee breeding program, he specializes in data wrangling, pollen chefery, and entomological match-making.

How you can help

  • Join our Community Science initiatives! Contact
  • Create a Pollinator-friendly garden! Help reverse the loss of native pollinator habitat on your property by protecting or planting native flowering plants.  Aim to have a diversity of plants that flower from spring through fall. Pollination Guelph has curated an excellent list of resources to get you started.
  • Build a bee nest out of a recycled milk carton.
  • Don’t remove colonies of native bees on your property.  Bumble bees are quite docile when undisturbed and usually will only sting when trapped.
  • Support organic agriculture.
  • Take photos of any bumble bees you see in North America and submit them to This will help us locate rare bumble bees and learn more about all Canadian bumble bees.
  • Choose alternatives to pesticides or reduce the amount of chemicals you use.
  • Shop organic
  • Contact your local government office and let them know that you support responsible land use planning that protects and connects natural areas and endangered species habitat
  • Report sightings of rare species to your provincial/territorial Conservation Data Centre
  • Support Wildlife Preservation Canada.

Project Staff