Pollinator Garden/Bat Box Project

Summer 2021 (pending pandemic status)

OVERVIEW

This project’s hope is to educate youth and Scouters equally on the importance of pollinators and bats, and to share with them how small steps can have a positive, lasting impact on these creatures well being. In turn we will partner will local businesses and volunteers to build the elements required for a healthy local ecosystem.

4-13th Whitby Group will complete 4 bat boxes and a 100 square foot pollinator garden that we hope will be an inspiration for those who attend Camp Samac. Furthermore, we anticipate that many scout groups will take advantage of viewing the bats and the pollinators who attend the garden and use this resource to educate their youth on the importance of the various species who attend the garden.

GOALS

The success of this project will be dependent on the successful achievement of the following goals

  1. The development and implementation of 2 project plans, as follows:
    1. A Pollinator garden approximately of a 10-foot by 10-foot area
    2. 4 Bat Boxes
  2. The establishment of a pollinator garden (i.e., cleared and prepared soil, and planting of pollinator-specific plants and flowers) to help the local pollinator species population
  3. The establishment of 4 box shelters specifically designed to support the local bat population
  4. The delivery of 5 years Annual maintenance to ensure project sustainability
  5. Successfully instructing youth on the issues faced by these different species, the importance of these structures/plants, basic building principles, importance of maintenance and tool/project safety
  6. Successfully instruct youth on project development and implementation

SPECIFICATIONS

The Importance of Pollinators and Bats cannot be understated and a project that will enable them to flourish will be something than can benefit the local environment in many ways; from direct positive impact on the various species to providing an educational opportunity for locals. The following describes in detail the issues pollinators and bats face and some solutions to help.

 

Pollinators:

Imagine living in a world without flowers or fruit or even coffee or chocolate for that matter. Thanks to the wonderful work of pollinators like bees, much of the food we eat and flowers and plants we enjoy are possible.

And it’s not just bees that are doing all the work. Butterflies, birds, beetles, bats, wasps and even flies are important in the pollination process. But despite the importance of pollinators, they are taken for granted all too often. Worldwide, there is an alarming decline in pollinator populations. Excessive use of pesticides and an ever-expanding conversion of landscapes to human use are the biggest culprits.

It is estimated that more than 1,300 types of plants are grown around the world for food, beverages, medicines, condiments, spices and even fabric. Of these, about 75% are pollinated by animals. More than one of every three bites of food we eat or beverages we drink are directly because of pollinators. Indirectly, pollinators ultimately play a role in the majority of what we eat and consume.

Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining the habitats and ecosystems that many animals rely on for food and shelter. Worldwide, over half the diet of fats and oils comes from crops pollinated by animals. They facilitate the reproduction in 90% of the world’s flowering plants (https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/the-importance-of-pollinators/#:~:text=Pollinators%20are%20vital%20to%20creating,of%20the%20world's%20flowering%20plants “The Importance of Pollinators” by Joe Lamp’, March 2015).

Taking action - aligns perfectly with the Scouting Movement and this cause is worthy if scout groups plan on continuing the enjoyment of the outdoors. This project will not only explain the basic planning, building and implementation process, youth will see firsthand how their efforts can make a difference in their local community and the world.

Bats:

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They find their way around by combining their acute sight with echolocation. Bats emit calls and listen to the echoes of those calls that return from objects in their vicinity. They use these echoes to find and hunt their prey and to navigate and avoid collisions. All bats can also see – they are not blind.

Bats play an essential role in pest control, pollinating plants and dispersing seeds. Recent studies estimate that bats eat enough pests to save more than $1 billion per year in crop damage and pesticide costs in the United States corn industry alone. Across all agricultural production, consumption of insect pests by bats results in a savings of more than $3 billion per year. While many bats eat insects, others feed on nectar and provide critical pollination for a variety of plants like peaches, cloves, bananas and agaves. In fact, bats are the sole pollinator for the agave plant, a key ingredient in tequila! A third bat food source is fruit, leading to yet another important role in the ecosystem - seed dispersal. Fruit-eating bats can account for as much as 95% of the seed dispersal responsible for early growth in recently cleared rainforests. Bat populations are one of the best natural indicators of the health of our environment. This is because bats flourish where an ecosystem is healthy and stable (https://www.fws.gov/midwest/news/ImportanceOfBats.html U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service October 2020).

Unfortunately, bats are declining across the globe. Many bats are needlessly killed because people do not understand the important role bats play in a healthy ecosystem. The need for winter shelter during hibernation puts bats at another disadvantage. Human activity resulting in loss of habitat and disruptions during hibernation are detrimental. Making matters worse, a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome has claimed the lives of more than 5 million bats since its discovery in 2006 and has spread across North America at alarming rates. The fungus can be transmitted from bat to bat, cave to bat and even cave to cave as people inadvertently carry the fungus on shoes, clothing or equipment. Since many bats hibernate in the same caves over the winter, the fungus can decimate an entire bat colony once established.

Want to do your part to help bats? There are many ways to get involved!

·         Spread the word - Share what you’ve learned about the importance of bats. We can all benefit from a greater understanding of the world around us.

·         Watch for bats - Watching bats fly over you is a great way to further understand and appreciate all they do.

·         Turn off unnecessary lights - Light pollution can disrupt or deter bats. Providing a dark environment can help improve conditions for bats.

·         Plant a garden - Creating a garden will help attract insects that help pollinate plants and feed bats, contributing to the circle of life.

·         Install a bat box - Providing shelter for bats is a great way to promote a healthy environment.

The building and installation of bat boxes not only aligns with the Pollinator garden, it also presents an opportunity for the older scout-aged youth to experience basic planning and construction projects.

Once these projects are completed, each year all the local scouting sections/groups will have an opportunity to enjoy seeing the bats and pollinators and perhaps helping out with the maintenance of the bat boxes and/or the pollinator garden work. These projects have the potential to give back to the community again and again for years to come.

MILESTONES

Planning (All Dates DRAFT)

February 2021 – Proposal Approved

March 15, 2021 – draft project plan completed

March 30, 2021 –Initiate fundraising

August 1, 2021 – gather materials, start build

August 10, 2021 – schedule Camp Samac working dates and organize work crews

September 30, 2021 – Installation completed

October 15, 2021 – 1st Fall maintenance work completed

May 10, 2022 – 1st Spring Maintenance completed; subsequent maintenance to be completed every May and October up to May 2026

Resourcing

Upon approval, 4-13th Whitby will engage with local businesses, the conservation authority and other to establish partnerships to cover the costs required to complete this project (e.g., Hydro One, local landscaping and gardening supply stores). All sections in the group will also initiate a fundraising campaign specifically targeting funds that will be applied to complete this project.

It is anticipated that the funds required will be approximately $500 to purchase the following materials/supplies:

·         Soil

·         Fertilizer/compost

·         Seeds/plants

·         Wood

·         Nails

Where possible, we will reuse materials/supplies and seek material/supplies donations from local residents to business owners. The work to secure all of the required materials will start upon approval. Our gathering methods will be influenced by any COVID 19 restrictions, as required (e.g., online request, curbside pickups, phone calls to make requests, e-Transfer of funds, etc.…)

All labour to complete this project will be provided by all sections (i.e., colony, pack, troop) within the 4-14th Whitby Group as well as Group Committee members. Where required, we will solicit additional help from other Whitby area groups.

 

Contact for more information:

13th Whitby Scout Group

Marcel Parent

marceleparent@gmail.com

 (416) 458-0124

 

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