WHAT’S THE BUZZ? 2ND ANNUAL POLLINATOR CITIZEN SCIENCE PROGRAMCategory: 2017, Community Grant, Current, Grant, Land Use
Alberta alone contains over 300 species of native bees, and 27 species of bumble bees. One Albertan species, the Western Bumble Bee (Bombus Occidentalis) has been assessed as nationally threatened. In the first annual delivery of WPC’s Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park pollinator citizen science project, multiple individuals of this rare species were observed during volunteer surveys. Only by engaging the public and connecting an increased number of community members with nature – through education about the importance of pollinators and collection of information on their distributions and habitat requirements – will WPC be able to effectively plan for the recovery of this species and others that may be at risk, as well as maintain important pollination services for crops and wildflowers.
WPC plans to mobilize volunteer citizen scientists to become invested and engaged in pollinator conservation through the continuation of this initiative. At multiple training workshops, volunteers will: i) learn to conduct field surveys, photograph, and identify Alberta pollinators, with a focus on bumble bees and declining species, ii) construct, deploy, and monitor bumble bee colony nest boxes in the park, and in their own backyards, and iii) install a pollinator hotel for other insects in the park, expanding their knowledge of bee biology and diversity. Through these training sessions, a diverse pool of Albertans will be directly involved in pollinator conservation and environmental stewardship, and contribute important data to both provincial and national monitoring initiatives.