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How the Fly Home Project is using real estate to fight Canada’s pollinator crisis

The pollinator crisis is having a severe impact on Canada’s ecosystems, and the Fly Home Project is launching a national initiative to tackle this problem. 

This collaborative effort involves the real estate industry, conservation groups and community members who want to combat the rapid decline in pollinator populations.


Free seeds for all Canadians


Realtor Alana Russell launched a campaign in 2018 in Ontario’s Waterloo Region to give away free milkweed seeds, the host plant for the endangered Monarch butterfly. 

Last year, more than 700 seed packs were distributed, prompting Russell to expand the program nationally. This year’s seed giveaway is open to anyone in Canada who requests seeds. The seeds being sent this year are Black Eyed Susan, which supports all pollinators.


Referral network for nature-approved agents


Alana Russell, photo by Mae Villatoro Photography

In addition to seed giveaways, the Fly Home Project includes a referral network of “nature-approved” real estate agents. Russell defines a nature-approved agent as someone who values and prioritizes the environment. 

When homebuyers or sellers are referred to an agent through the Fly Home Network, a portion of the commission is invested back into the initiative. 

Participants can choose to have native pollinator plant seeds sent throughout their neighbourhood or select an environmental partner agency to receive a donation from the Fly Home Project.

“I hope that it becomes second nature for people looking to find a real estate agent to contact the Fly Home Project. This would bring consistent pockets of pollinator gardens popping up all over North America,” Russell says.  


Expanding partnerships to build a legacy


Russell plans to continue expanding partnerships to build a legacy that benefits not only the environment but also future generations. 

Agents wanting to be part of the Fly Home Project referral network or refer clients can contact the team through their website.

There is no cost for agents to be part of the program or for anyone to use the Fly Home Network. Russell says proceeds support the initiative’s business expenses and the seed distribution and donation program.


Fall campaign with milkweed


Russell says they may look to do a fall campaign with milkweed for the Monarch butterfly. 

“It has been a really positive and rewarding experience that has created a personal and professional legacy,” she says. 

“I think it’s important that we look to find new, creative, and responsible ways to do business.”