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 www.bumblebeewatch.org website, hosted educational workshops, spearheaded scientific research and supported efforts to improve and/or restore habitat.

Active WPC Recovery Projects

Partnerships and Supported Research

Our Recovery Team

Andrea Gielens

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.

Sarah MacKell

Sarah MacKell

Lead Biologist – Native Pollinator Initiative

Sarah joined the Native Pollinator Initiative as Lead Biologist in February 2021, where she manages the native pollinator recovery programs across Canada. Sarah first became interested in studying pollinator conservation during her BSc in environmental sciences at the University of Guelph. She took multiple courses on pollinators and conducted her own research on bumble bees and pesticides. These experiences sparked her interest in conserving bees throughout Canada.

She is currently wrapping up her MSc at York University, which was focused on gaining a better understanding of the floral resource requirements of honey bee hives and identifying whether urban beehives are negatively impacting wild bee communities, including bumble bees. Within her BSc and MSc she has gained many skills that make her qualified for leading bumble bee recovery, including population monitoring experience, husbandry skills and knowledge, and identification skills. Before finding her passion for bees she also worked at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks researching soil physics, food safety, and water quality, respectively,

How you can help:

  • Join our Community Science initiatives! Contact pollinators@wildlifepreservation.ca
  • 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 bumblebeewatch.org. 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.

Make a Donation

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