Nanaimo and Area Land Trust (NALT) is launching a project to encourage property owners to create habitats to help declining bee and butterfly populations.
Native pollinators are threatened by a number of factors, including pesticide use, disease transfer from non-native honey bees and climate change, but the primary factor is habitat loss, according to NALT.
The Pollinator Paradise Project aims to help native pollinators by promoting simple steps to turn gardens, yards and patios into habitats for threatened species.
Residents can help by choosing pollinator-friendly plants, keeping them blooming from spring through fall and not using pesticides. They can also protect nests and egg-laying sites of species such as Western Bluebirds, Vesper Sparrows and Western Painted Turtles.
People can visit NALT’s interactive mapping application and add their “pollinator paradise” to the map and receive a garden sign to help spread awareness. To get a garden, yard or patio certified, residents can email email@example.com or call 250-714-1990.
Adding a property to the map will also allow NALT to track pollinator habitat connectivity, which can be vital for pollinator species, as many only have a range of 500 metres or less.
NALT said it hopes over time it will be able to see which areas of the region have great habitat connectivity and which areas might need more work. Connectivity refers to what degree distinct patches of habitat are connected, which can influence the distribution, genetic diversity and health of animal and plant populations, according to NALT.
In the future this data may guide in developing projects where public lands or commercial or institutional properties can be turned into pollinator paradises, or where NALT can focus on specific communities to remove participation barriers and encourage pollinator habitat enhancement.
NALT is hosting pollinator paradise events, such as garden and habitat workshops, a family-friendly pollinator event, and public talks on native bees and butterflies this spring.