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App: HoneyHome

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Mission Statement

Pollinators are a crucial component of our ecosystem and play a vital role in the survival of many plant species, including those that provide food for humans and animals. Scientists estimate that over 87% of flowering plants are animal-pollinated – meaning that the vast majority of flowering plants on earth rely on animal pollinators to reproduce. (Bee City Canada) Scientists also have determined that approximately 75% of the major crops that we grow for human consumption depend on, or benefit from, animal pollinators, accounting for 35% of food production by volume. (Bee City Canada)Without pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats, many plants would not be able to reproduce and produce fruit, vegetables, and nuts. This would have a significant impact on the food supply chain. In addition to their importance in agriculture, pollinators also contribute to the biodiversity of our planet by helping to maintain healthy ecosystems and providing habitat for other wildlife. Therefore, protecting and preserving pollinators is essential for ensuring the sustainability and resilience of our environment.

However, pollinators are facing multiple threats that are causing their populations to decline at an alarming rate. One of the most significant factors is habitat loss and fragmentation due to urbanization, agriculture, and climate change. Additionally, infection by pathogens and parasites, usually spread by humans, have also contributed to their population decline (Rhodes, C, J. 2018). The destruction of natural habitats means that pollinators have less access to food sources and suitable breeding grounds. Pesticides and herbicides are also a significant threat to pollinators, as they can be toxic to these insects and harm their reproductive abilities. Climate change is also affecting the timing and availability of flowering plants and can disrupt the natural cycles of pollinators (Tiusanenet al. 2020). Finally, human activities, such as overuse of natural resources, and pollution also play a role in the decline of pollinators. All of these factors contribute to the ongoing decline of pollinator populations and underscore the urgent need for action to protect and preserve these essential species. For example, it is estimated that bee population has declined by 46% across Canada in 2021 (E. Guzman, President of the Canadian Association of ProfessionalApriculturists, 2022).

The declining populations, especially of bees since they are the most common, has not gone unnoticed. There are organizations that work and strive to educate the public on the importance of bees and pollinators in general like XERCES Society for Invertebrate Conservation or Bee City Canada. Bee City Canada provides resources and support to help participating cities fulfill their commitment to creating and maintaining a minimum number of pollinator-friendly habitats and to promoting public education and awareness about pollinators.

Waterloo Region, a place all three of us are connected to, is enrolled as a Bee Region.

As a Bee Region, there are resources on the Region’s site like lists of local nurseries, how to garden without pesticides, and they host events, and seed and plant exchanges as well which is great for raising awareness. However, it is very much like a list of links. It is our opinion that a visual tool is needed to better raise awareness and engage residents of Waterloo Region.

Building upon the Region’s foundation, our mission is to inspire community members in Kitchener Waterloo to create thriving urban ecosystems and habitats for pollinators by engaging them through visually appealing maps showing possible areas for pollinator gardens. We aim this app to be used by individual residents, teachers, community leaders in charge of the Region’s Bee initiatives or in charge of neighborhood associations. Everyone and anyone wanting to contribute and improve the urban ecology of Kitchener-Waterloo for our pollinator friends.

Video Presentation


Team Members

Emily Van Loon: Hello! I am Emily, a 4B Planning Student at the University of Waterloo specializing in Urban Land Development and GIS. I am passionate about smart city concepts and climate justice, hoping to one day catalyze urban change through GIS technologies. I'm excited to apply my passions for spatial data analysis and urban ecology to this year's challenge! Some of my past notable projects include managing a JavaScript-based spatial data platform and calibrating hydraulic water distribution models. When I'm not creating fantastic GIS applications, I love to read, paint, take care of my plants and spend tons of time outdoors.

Harane Jegatheswaran: Hello, I am Harane! I am a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo majoring in Urban Planning and specializing in GIS. My goals in my career involve using my skills to create solutions for aspects of the climate crisis as well plan more sustainable and walkable cities. Some of my projects include developing a robust Carbon Sequestration model as well as design an app to map the spread of wildfire for my previous employer, Korotu Technology Inc. In my free time I enjoy thrifting, reading and trying not to kill my plants.

Ana-Paula Diaz Garduno: Hello, My name is Ana! I am a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo majoring in Geomatics with a minor in Computer Science. Geography has always interested me as a child because of the connections between places. Now, that interest has grown to knowledge and skills to be able to analyze and uncover the connections between spatial data. I developed new editable features on a Mapbox based web application and I have automated data processing scripts for a transportation model. I do recurve archery and I like to read. I currently finished Dune by Frank Herbert.