Research areaEcology, Evolution
In 2017, the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) launched the Butterflyway Project in major cities across Canada, encouraging community members to plant wildflower patches across urban neighbourhoods with the goal of conserving and monitoring at-risk pollinator species. Volunteer gardeners (Butterflyway Rangers) plant and maintain wildflower patches while the program provides information such as plant lists and gardening recommendations. Within these gardens, I am interested in what flowers are the most attractive to urban pollinator species, including butterflies and both managed and wild bees. Despite broad plant recommendations from the program, gardens can be very different from each other depending on individual preference and local conditions. Therefore, I am also curious about what shapes Ranger plant choice and gardening decisions, ultimately influencing garden pollinator community composition. To answer these questions, I conduct summer floral observations in 20 Butterflyway gardens across Metro Vancouver, connect and engage with Butterflyway Rangers, and employ survey questionnaires. By investigating the entire conservation pathway from gardener to garden to pollinators, we can elicit ways in which the Butterflyway Project and similar programs can support their volunteers, ultimately bettering citizen engagement and improving pollinator conservation outcomes.