This summer, The Kootenay Conservation Field Crew had the chance to participate in pollinator restoration and native seed collection thanks to Kinseed Ecologies, a Kootenay based consulting company. The crew discovered ways to ethically and carefully collect native seeds, and learned to appreciate the process and time needed to do so. They also learned about many different pollinators and their unique tasks in nature.
During this process, the crew and Kinseed Ecologies were delighted to discover two at-risk species growing along the dikes and roads at the Bummers Flats Conservation Property Complex: the Blue-listed Wild Licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota) and the Red-listed Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus californicus). They observed the incredible dynamic between these two species as the butterfly skipped along the licorice plant laying her tiny eggs. The crew appreciated the opportunity to witness nature’s process; they were even able to capture a photo of a fresh egg! The phenomenon was a rare sight, and a good sign that conservation efforts are successfully maintaining habitat for vulnerable species.
The crew also helped collect pollinator samples. These samples allow scientists to understand what type of pollinator species are present in the area, so that future conservation and restoration efforts can be more specific to the native pollinator and plant community. Over the next few years, efforts will be carried out to plant native seeds on dikes at the Bummers Flats Conservation Property Complex, primarily on provincial conservation land adjacent to Nature Trust property. This will reduce invasive species spread and enhance the plant diversity for local pollinators, including the silver spotted skipper butterfly. The crew hopes to apply these native plant restoration projects to Nature Trust land in the future.