By Ariel Miller, ESRAG Newsletter Editor

Rotarians all over the world are inspiring their communities to embrace Operation Pollination. It starts with signing a non-binding Operation Pollination Partnership resolution to work together on two goals: to educate the community about the vital importance of pollinators to human well-being, and to restore pollinator habitats.  

Pictures of 11 Operation Pollinator Ambassadors who are working to protect butterflies.

There are 135 Operation Pollinator Ambassadors around the world.

Led by Rotarian and naturalist Christopher Stein, this ESRAG initiative has expanded to 70 Rotary Districts on six continents in just three years. Clubs and District Governors are uniting local and regional governments, schools, parks, nature reserves, businesses, and civic groups to sign pledges. Then, the fun begins: a feast of education, discovery, and cultivating flowering plants so pollinators can flourish again. People of all walks of life, from toddlers to titans of business, are pitching in. As one Rotary Director told ESRAG co-founder Karen Kendrick-Hands in 2020, “well, Karen, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love butterflies.”  

“With 7 of 10 people thinking of any environmental concern as a future problem, Operation Pollination has helped many Rotarians and community partners in my ten-county District embrace the plight of our essential pollinators,” says DGE Elayne Bozick of District 6650 in Ohio, USA. “Talking about THE food web and how all life on earth is connected, makes it easier to engage others as an important player in a much larger global effort. And – with every educational activity, with every pollinator project, we have the opportunity to capitalize on promotion and messaging.

Pollinator Conservation Flyer.

Flyer for the pollinator project idea training on March 6th and March 13th.

We’ve actually had people join Rotary because of Operation Pollination.”

She persuaded her entire class of Ohio DGEs to sign a pollinator resolution. “I had been witnessing – with concern – changes to my immediate environment for many years,” she explains. “When Rotary declared Protecting Our Environment as a global concern, I knew the power of Rotary had my back. With that framework, after describing the what and why of Operation Pollination – magically – every one of the Rotary and community partners I asked agreed to help. On top of all that, thanks to the Operation Pollination international network, I now know Rotarians in England, and Costa Rica, Australia and other members of our global community.” 

In March, you have two opportunities to discover how to put that love into action. “The Pollinator Partnership will provide FREE pollinator project idea training through Pollinator Conservation 101 on March 6th and 13th of 2024, by Zoom,” writes Chris Stein.   EVERYONE is invited to attend this training opportunity, but you must register to attend.  So please do so as soon as possible.”  

Register here for the March 6 session (8:30 am Central Time, US) or here for March 13th (6 pm Central Time, US). The link should bring up the correct time for your part of the world.