With so many families at home right now, we've adapted our WILD Spaces programming for those with elementary aged kids to try at home, as well as educators working remotely. Don’t worry about it being a perfect or complete experience, just have fun while learning and do what you can with what you have.
Why teach kids about pollinators?
Educators can help native pollinators and connect to nature with their students, to help shape a young generation of conservationists.
Pollinators like wild bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are important because they give us delicious foods, keep our ecosystems healthy and provide services that support our economy and wellbeing. However, they face challenges like pesticide use on feeding and breeding areas, habitat loss and climate change. As more land is altered for human activities, it’s important to create pockets of pollinator habitat where people live, work and play.
Simultaneously, children are spending longer hours indoors and are becoming disconnected from the natural world to the detriment of their physical and mental health and the future of our wildlife. Evidence shows that teaching outdoors can make educators happier, healthier, less likely to experience teacher burnout and can also help strengthen the bond between teachers and students. Time spent outdoors can increase students’ ability to concentrate, help with symptoms of learning challenges and may even improve overall test scores. Furthermore, children who have positive experiences outdoors with a trusted adult are more likely to develop a strong conservation ethic.
Goal of Program
WILD Spaces aims to connect educators and children to nature and help protect pollinators through a meaningful learning experience. This program guides teachers to empower elementary students to learn about pollinators, adapt school or community gardens to create pollinator habitat, observe and document pollinators in the garden and share their experiences with others in the program across Canada.
What You Can Do
This program is best suited for students in grades three to six but can easily be adapted for younger and older participants alike. Sign up to follow the program this spring or explore the program pillars:
Create a pollinator garden
Certify your garden
Participate in the online classroom
Our online classroom has learning activities designed to help students learn about pollinators, discover how to create pollinator habitat in a garden and interact with participants from across the country, as they share stories and pictures of their journey on a safe platform.
You will have access to the online classroom when you sign-up for the program.Sign Up
Create a pollinator garden
Putting knowledge into action will help students process the information they’ve learned about pollinators and creating habitat. The garden they create will no doubt help pollinators, but what may be more beneficial are the personal learning experiences and opportunities for nature connection that can happen in a garden. These experiences can generate important conversations within your community and instill a lifelong conservation ethic for participants. WILD Spaces will support you with resources to facilitate this learning experience and create a successful pollinator garden.How To
Engage in citizen science
Students document pollinators in the garden with a user-friendly, child-safe digital application by taking photos. The data your group collects will contribute to a growing wealth of knowledge of Canadian wildlife species.Learn How
View Garden Habitat Certification in a larger map
Certify your pollinator garden with CWF
The Canadian Wildlife Federation acknowledges the efforts of Canadians who make their home, school, business or community garden suitable for wildlife by certifying the space as a “Wildlife-friendly Habitat”.
You can showcase your school’s efforts to help pollinators by having the wild spaces you’ve created officially certified by CWF. Applicants who meet the criteria will receive a certificate and window decal in the mail.Get Certified
Did You Know?
7.5 hoursThe average Canadian child is sedentary for about 7.5 hours a day.
75-95%Flowering plants across the globe that depend on pollinators.
5 timesChildren who grow veggies in a garden are 5 times more likely to eat them.
Meet the Team
Melissa works with the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s education team and is based in Nova Scotia. She has a background in wildlife biology and helps manage education programs designed to connect Canadians to nature through experiential and service learning opportunities.
“With more people living in expanding urban areas across the globe, humans and wildlife need to coexist in order to thrive and the garden is a great place to start. I hope that CWF’s garden education programming can offer all Canadians an opportunity to connect to nature and help wildlife with much needed habitat.”