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Richmond's Butterflyway Rangers rise to the occasion once again

Students from Anderson and Mitchell elementaries took part in the recent Butterflyway BioBlitz project
Anderson elementary teacher Anne-Marie Fenn brought together 200 students for the project

Richmond elementary students are being lauded for their part in the record participation in the Butterflyway citizen science project.

Almost 800 students and teachers from more than 50 schools participated in “BioBlitz” earlier this month.

Representing 52 schools across B.C., the students from Thetis Island, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Langley, Richmond, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Comox, Surrey and Burnaby used iPads and notepads to photograph and record key information about local wild pollinator populations.

With guidance from their teachers, the students organized the data, made butterfly- and bee-themed artwork, dressed up as pollinators and joined a BioBlitz wrap-up party on Friday, June 4.

The Butterflyway BioBlitz took place the week after the discovery of an unmarked burial site containing 215 students of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

To honour and remember the young Indigenous children who died attending the school, Mitchell elementary in Richmond pinned 215 orange ribbons on their native plant holders.

According to event organizers, David Suzuki Foundation, Mitchell and Anderson elementaries in Richmond “both contributed hugely in our Citizen Science school BiioBlitz.

“Anita Lau and Anne-Marie Fenn are the teachers who have made a huge difference.

“Anne-Marie Feen brought together 200 students from Anderson Elementary to participate in the Butterfly BioBlitz.”

The David Suzuki Foundation’s B.C. Butterflyway Citizen Science work is guided by a small group of dedicated Butterflyway Rangers, UBC students and scientists.

Tara Moreau, associate director of UBC’s Botanical Garden, is a member of the committee and believes engaging young students in biodiversity early in their lives will help them become responsible climate citizens when they grow up.

“The climate is changing faster than we are,” Moreau said. “Citizen science is an increasingly important tool to support climate action and biodiversity protection.”

The foundation’s Butterflyway Rangers in BC are also celebrating National Pollinator Week this week (June 21-27).