The Pollinator Ambassadors program is designed to engage new audiences to learn about pollinators and become empowered to teach others. Pollinator Ambassadors receive training and/or materials from experts to spread the word and lead more people to actions to help pollinators. The two main facets of the Pollinator Ambassador program are 1) Pollinator Education Toolkits and 2) Pollinator Ambassador Training.
Pollinator Education Toolkits
This versatile, portable, educational toolkit was created by pollinator experts at the University of Minnesota Bee Lab and Monarch Joint Venture. These kits provide science-based pollinator education through games and interactive features. The kits include instructions for education and outreach leaders. The content of the kit can be modified to benefit audiences with varying levels of pollinator knowledge. Users will come away with a new appreciation for pollinators as well as new ways to help them. We are grateful to the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund for supporting production and distribution of the pollinator toolkits.
We are able to offer downloadable materials available to all. To receive access to these materials, fill out the Online Pollinator Education Toolkit Form
We have distributed 200 free Pollinator Education Toolkits to MN educators and are taking applications for another 40 educators to receive a free kit. These are interactive outreach materials. They do not require specific training as the materials are designed to stand alone but additional background information can provide enrichment, so we will provide some videos with additional information and instructions. Some written instructions will also accompany the kits. If you receive a kit, you will be asked to keep track of use and answer an annual survey.
Pollinator Ambassador Training
A collaboration between Bee Squad, Urban Ventures, Urban Roots, Monarch Joint Venture, the University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History, Pollinate Minnesota, and the Mississippi River Green Team, the Pollinator Ambassadors program began in 2016 with funding from the UMN Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute. The goal of the Pollinator Ambassadors program is to provide hands-on training to youth about pollinators in order for them to provide outreach to the public. In 2016, the program trained 6 youth from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. These participants learned about honey bees, participated in bumble bee surveys, and learned about pollination in food systems. Two of the participants were hired by the Bee Squad in 2017 to help with outreach. In 2017, the Bee Squad received funding from Target Corporate to continue Pollinator Ambassador programming and we expanded the number of youth participants to 20 by connecting with the Mississippi River Green Team. These youth participants were trained in beneficial insects, pollinators, bumble bee surveys, and were able to connect to a Bee Arts project where they experienced the intersection of art and bee pollinators.
In 2019, we trained 45 youth participants including students in Rochester, MN. We partnered with instructors from Monarch Joint Venture and Pollinate Minnesota to broaden our content. To support educators throughout the state of Minnesota, we created pollinator outreach toolkits. In 2021, we sent 200 kits to pollinator educators across Minnesota. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and trained an additional 15 youth.
Check out the video that Pollinator Ambassadors made with Independent Film Project MN about their experience learning about pollinators.
Please visit Youth at the U to learn about safe environments for youth at the University of Minnesota.