Our Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators

Project title: Our Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators

Participatory Budgeting funding request: $18,000

Organization/Individual: Pollinator Partnership Canada

Location: Royal BC Museum and Victoria (outside; gardens, parks)

What is your project?

Insects, especially pollinators, are known to be declining worldwide, yet without insect pollinators, ecosystems and food production will collapse. Victoria Youth will have the opportunity to become empowered, playing an active role in safeguarding the future. While most people are familiar with honey bees, globally there are approximately 20,000 species of bees and more than 150 species on Vancouver Island. Additionally, there are thousands of other types of native pollinators such as butterflies and hover flies. We will train and mentor youth to become pollinator advocates in Victoria. They will design and lead pollinator assessment and community outreach. The City of Victoria has recently implemented a program of using native plants in public spaces and youth will assess the value of native plants versus traditional horticultural flowers to our local pollinator populations. By having youth take the lead, we will empower our future leaders to take responsibility for our environment now, and for generations to come. Pollinator Partnership is the largest organizations in the world dedicated solely to the protection of pollinators and their habitat. We have more than 20 years of experience protecting pollinators by creating habitat, conducting research, creating outreach material, teaching, and facilitating partnerships. Partnerships with staff from the Royal BC Museum and the Victoria Natural History Society, and the support of City of Victoria Youth Council, will ensure success.

How does your project benefit the lives of youth in Victoria? Studies across the globe are showing startling declines in insect populations, essential to life on earth. Our project will empower youth to take the lead in conservation in Victoria. It will benefit youth and the wider community by addressing two fundamental gaps in pollinator conservation: 1. Lack of knowledge of native bee, butterfly, and other pollinator populations and health in Victoria, and 2. Need for youth engagement and empowerment on the critical issue of pollinator conservation. Minimal opportunities exist for the participation of youth and youth leadership in meaningful conservation projects in Victoria. The information gained on pollinators will be critical for current and future conservation efforts, and for future status updates. In addition, as part of the outreach and knowledge transfer component, youth will be taught how to: disseminate their findings to their peers and the public, and explain the importance of pollinators and best ways to help them. They will gain leadership skills and confidence in their power to influence and create change. Youth will gain tangible and transferable skills that can be used for future job opportunities, which will lead to heightened personal empowerment, confidence, and sense of self. By spreading their knowledge and passion about pollinator conservation, they will inspire meaningful change among their peer groups, and the broader public

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