Butterflies benefit from gardening effort

A monarch butterfly poses in the backyard of a Chatham home. (Chatham Voice file photo)

Chatham-Kent became one of 60 new communities to be recognized as a “Butterflyway” recently in a national project started and guided by the David Suzuki Foundation.

Butterflyways are citizen-created corridors of at least a dozen gardens filled with native wildflowers that support local pollinators such as wild bees and butterflies.

Chatham-Kent efforts were co-ordinated by “Butterflyway Rangers” Chandra Clarke, Mike Smith, and Rachel Jacobson. In their first year working with the foundation, more than 40 gardens across C-K were either identified or started.

“We are absolutely thrilled to become an official community on the Butterflyway map,” said Clarke in a media release. “These native plant gardens are absolutely critical to supporting birds, insects, and other wildlife. They’re also a fabulous example of what ordinary citizens can do to reverse environmental degradation.”

The David Suzuki Foundation recruited more than 1,000 volunteer Butterflyway Rangers this spring as part of the fifth year of the award-winning Butterflyway Project. Rangers received online training in pollinator conservation and community organizing.

“Our crew of keen Butterflyway Rangers were able to bring friends and neighbours together to plant wildflowers in yards, balconies and boulevards and make their communities beautiful and butterfly-filled,” said Butterflyway Project manager Jode Roberts.

Clarke said C-K plans for next year include recruiting schools and service clubs to start pollinator patches, as well as continuing efforts to bring individual enthusiasts into the project.

“Even if all you have space for is a few pots of wildflowers out on the balcony, you’d be welcome,” Clarke said. “And you don’t have to be a pro, either. Beginner gardeners will get a lot of support. We have keen and friendly experts in the group who are very generous with advice, seeds, and resources.”

For more information on Chatham Kent Butterflyway group, see them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/497449838083929 or e-mail Clarke at chandraclarke@gmail.com.



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