An Interdisciplinary Approach to Native Pollinator Conservation in Southern Ontario: A Case Study from Norfolk County
Sheila Colla (PI) with Meagan Tompkins (PhD student)
Interviews and farm tours were done with conservation program Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) participants. These interviews took place in Norfolk County, Ontario where previous work showed bee richness to be positively impacted on the land of ALUS farmers when compared to non-ALUS sites. Nine semi-structured, in person interviews with growers in Southern Ontario were conducted and transcribed to gather qualitative data on the following themes: Farm history and grower education, current grower pollination strategies, attitudes toward native pollinators, knowledge of native pollinators and pollinator habitat, grower support and knowledge networks, and understanding the role of biodiversity on the farm. The goal of the survey was to characterize the relationships between demographic, land management, and pollination services variables and 6 concepts were hypothesized that impact the likelihood of adopting biodiversity and bee friendly practices. These are: (1) awareness of bees; (2) beliefs around threats to native bees; (3) perceptions about contributions of native bees; (4) perceived vulnerability to changes in the honeybee industry; (5) social networks; and (6) practical barriers. Colla and her team of student researchers gave talks and bee walks to over 1100 adults and 500 children at 14 events. Funding: The W. Garfield Weston Foundation $25,000.