Identifying and assessing priority habitat resources for bumble bees and other pollinators using collaborative community-based conservation.

This HSP project is implementing pollinator surveys in and and around Yellowknife with a focus on SARA-listed species including the yellow-banded and gypsy cuckoo bumble bees. Pollinators contribute 1-in-3 mouthfuls of food we eat, and support the reproduction of 80% of terrestrial plants in Canada. Pollinators are vital to building ecosystem resilience and supporting ecological services, including the aforementioned food production and plant reproduction, but pollinators and their habitat also support biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water and nutrient cycling, climate mitigation, and cultural services. Unfortunately pollinators are declining at alarming rates. This decline is driven largely by a synergy of habitat loss and disturbance, exacerbated by climate change.

Canadians want to take action, but face barriers: lack of knowledge of issues and solutions, and a lack of access to native plants in order to support habitat. We are leveraging awareness into action by empowering well-trained volunteers to recruit their neighbours to survey pollinators in the local landscape to determine which floral resources at-risk bumble bees and other pollinators are frequently visiting. This information can then be used to help conservation efforts for at-risk bumble bees and pollinators in general around Yellowknife through habitat preservation and the planting of key floral species.

The goal of this project is to collect information on the associations that bumble bees and other pollinators have with floral resources in and around Yellowknife in order to gain an understanding of critical food resources needed for survival by at-risk bumble bees, current local occurrence status of these bee species, as well as the stewardship capacity for listed species and their ecosystem services.

After two summer field seasons, we are currently up to over 900 documented bee and pollinator observations with 73 different species identified. Seen in the picture below is one of the incredible bumble bee species recorded in our project so far. Other pollinators were also observed including many species of native solitary bees, butterflies such as the striking Canadian tiger swallowtail butterfly, energetic hummingbird moths, and flower flies that act as excellent bee mimics.

Popular native flowers that attracted the most bee diversity included fireweed, prickly wild rose, shrubby cinquefoil, and common yarrow. The great thing about Yellowknife if that the city keeps large patches of wildflowers blooming around town along roads and sidewalks all summer long, and therefore almost everyone intentionally, or unintentionally, has patches of flowers on their property that provide essential resources to the local pollinator populations. Going forward, Pollinator Partnership Canada will continue with our community science work to increase the number of pollinator observations in Canada’s north, as well as increasing awareness for these vital creatures and their ecosystem services.

Thank you to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program for funding and supporting this project. Thank you to all the community scientists around Yellowknife who contributed observations to our iNaturalist page. Thank you to the Government of the Northwest Territories for creating A Field Guide to Bumble Bees of the Northwest Territories which was immensely helpful during fieldwork. And thank you to the ID experts on iNaturalist for your help identifying all of the observations we uploaded!

A Guide to Bumble Bees, Pollinators, and Common Native Plants

This guide is perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about the bumble bee and pollinator species found around Yellowknife and the common native plants they visit for pollen and nectar.

Training Modules

training videos COMING SOON!


If you have any questions about the project or how to get involved, email Anthony Colangelo, the Plan Bee project lead at

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