Launched during National Wildlife Week 2009, CWF’s Quebec-based program Pollinators Habitat-Challenge (Défi-Habitat Pollinisateurs) has created quite a buzz. The aim of the program is to increase awareness about the decline in the number of pollinators and to encourage the creation of new pollinator habitats.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all over Quebec were invited to join the program. Partners could either incorporate a pollinator component into an existing program or develop a new project for pollinator conservation. Activities could centre on increasing awareness about pollinators or creating new pollinator habitats, of course always focusing on indigenous pollinators and plants. The response was incredible. Sixty organizations and institutions and the municipality of Sainte Faustin-Le Carré partnered with CWF to promote the Défi-Habitat Pollinisateurs.
Busy as Bees
The program was kicked off at the Montreal Biosphere with presentations by renowned Quebec researchers. Partners received scientific information about the pollinator crisis and potential solutions.
CWF staff conducted training sessions and presentations for our partner organizations and made available to all of them presentations, support and educational material for their own activities and projects under the Défi-Habitat Pollinisateurs program. CWF produced envelopes containing different combinations of native plant seeds designed to attract bees, hummingbirds or butterflies. A fourth mixture was designed with plant seeds suitable for potting. Each envelop had between 700 to 1,500 seeds, and all totalled, 17 species of Quebec indigenous plants were used.
Our partners took up the Pollinators Habitat Challenge with full force. Information about the program was included in their bulletins, newsletters, websites and posters. They appointed DHP ambassadors to champion awareness projects and lead new habitat development. They assisted with the distribution of seed envelopes and support materials to their members, groups and communities. And they created a network of pollinator habitat proponents.
Seeds of Success
With the help of partners, the program was promoted in 20 municipalities. New pollinator-friendly habitat was established in agricultural, urban and suburban areas. Participants included young adults, children and families. Between 7,500 and 8,000 people were reached and are now more aware of the important role of pollinators. More than 7,500 kits of seed envelopes and guides were distributed to the population free of charge. Close to 5,000 plants were used in greening projects, and about 2.4 square kilometres were sown in urban, suburban and agricultural areas directly by 36 organizations. Forty-seven partners carried out awareness and outreach activities.
The success of the project was a team effort! With the financial contribution from Earth Day (Quebec) through the Fonds Écomunicipalité IGA, and in-kind contributions of thousands of hours of hard work from our partner organizations, together we were able to achieve more. Thanks to the wonderful participation of our partners, this challenge made a difference. Stay tuned, because this is just the beginning.
Interested in finding out how you can create a pollinator-friendly garden? Our Backyard Certification Program recognizes individual efforts to create wildlife habitat in backyards and gardens. Visit WildAboutGardening.org to learn how you can make your garden welcoming for wildlife and pollinators.