Butterflies are Back Thanks to Small Gardens

pollinator

If you planted native species in your garden then you deserve a pat on the shoulder. Your efforts have helped the butterflies return from dangerously low population levels. In Toronto we’ve seen the mass return of butterflies and it’s thanks to efforts by people and educational groups ensuring that pollinators get the food they need. It also helps hold back invasive species by helping native ones and therefore ensuring we don’t lose our biodiversity. If you haven’t planted native species – don’t worry the year isn’t over yet!

Monarch butterflies are flying all over the city, and many people are wondering how that’s possible after the species’ population reached an all-time low in 2010.

“Best guess is that the push in gardening for planting butterfly friendly plants and leaving milkweed alone has been successful. People are becoming more conscious of what they plant in their gardens and it’s a really fantastic positive change,” one user wrote.

Read more.
Thanks to Greg!

How Individuals and Governments can Save Bees

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Butterflies and bees need our help. They’re currently dying off due to changes in their environments while also being sprayed with deadly pesticides. A bunch of countries have banned the bee-killing pesticides, but that’s not helpful in the short term for beers or farmers. The progress at the policy level is needed and is slowly being rolled out around the globe.

At the individual level there is already stuff we can do to help the bees and our farming friends. All you have to do is plant some native species that your local pollinators love. Oh, and that means lots of butterflies.

The essence of the technique is to devote one in every four cultivation strips to flowering crops, such as oil seeds and spices. In addition, she provides pollinators with cheap nesting support, such as old wood and beaten soil that ground nesting bees can burrow into. Sunflowers were also planted nearby as wind shelters.

“There is a very low barrier so anyone in even the poorest country can do this. There is no equipment, no technology and only a small investment in seeds. It is very easy. You can demonstrate how to do it with pictures sent on a cellphone.”

Compared with control fields of pure monocultures, “amazing” benefits for farmers and an increase in abundance and diversity of pollinators were found. Crops were pollinated more efficiently, there were fewer pests such as aphids and greenfly, and yields increased in quantity and quality.

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Build Butterflyways for Beautiful Pollinators

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Every pollinator is beautiful and there is an easy way to see more of them while helping the world: butterflyways. The concept is simple: bees and butterflies are under a lot of pressure from human activity so help them on their pollination journey by feeding them. All you have to do is look up what pollinators love in your local area then plant a small garden for them, then tell others. By combining efforts with other gardeners or community groups you can create a pleasant route for our little friends.

In May and June, activities ranged from creating butterfly-themed costumes and a bike-trailer garden that won second prize in a Victoria parade, to adopting city parks in Richmond. In Markham and Toronto, Rangers built on a project started through the foundation’s Homegrown National Park Project, installing a dozen wildflower-filled canoes in parks, schools and daycares. In Toronto’s west end, a pair of Rangers led the Butterflyway Lane art project, painting butterfly-themed murals on two dozen garage doors, walls and fences in a laneway facing Garrison Creek Park.

In late June, Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood and Richmond, B.C. surpassed the target of a dozen Ranger-led plantings, earning kudos from the foundation for creating Canada’s first Butterflyways. The project is spreading, with neighbouring city councillors and groups clamouring to get their own Butterflyways.

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Community Canoes to Help Bees and Butterflies

A new initiative in Toronto is trying to help the local ecosystem and bring people closer to nature through canoes. Not by paddling, but by bringing bees and butterflies to the canoes.

The core idea is to help pollinators in the city survive by creating little sanctuaries on land using old canoes filled with plants. Humans will be drawn to the canoes too, but for different reasons. People can learn about the local wildlife and environment by additional information provided by the context of the canoe placement.

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?

Well, we love canoes. And not only do they look awesome filled with native plants and flowers, the Community Canoe Garden network will support local bees, butterflies and other pollinators that help ensure our fruits, veggies and herbs are abundant and healthy.
Please join us in this project. Together, we can build the Community Canoe Network.
And please note that the Community Canoe Garden Network is just the beginning. Working with residents, community groups, the city, and local paddling businesses, our grand ambition is to establish Community Canoe as a service similar to bixi bikes, but for canoes. We want to help make it easier for residents to explore Toronto’s waterfront and waterways. Imagine adding a paddle down the Humber or the Don to your commute, or taking a canoe trip along the waterfront!

Read more and contribute to the project here.

Thanks to Shea!

A Beer for Butterflies

Beer is delicious so it’s exciting to find out that at least one brewery is out there using their delvious suds to help a threatened species. Pelican Pub & Brewery in Oregon are using profits from one of their beers to fund the protection of butterflies from encroaching development and invasive species.

Now we have the newish Silverspot IPA, introduced last summer by the Pelican Pub & Brewery of Pacific City, Oregon. Downing one of these English-style IPAs will help efforts to increase populations of the threatened Oregon Silverspot Butterfly.

Once fairly common in northwest grasslands, the OSB (Speyeria zerene Hippolyta) became the victim of lost habitat, in terms of the early blue violet plant, also known as the dog violet (Viola adunca). It’s the great chain of ecological being—muck with this species here, and that species over there suffers as well.

The butterfly lays its eggs near the plant, which then serves as the sole source of food for the growing caterpillars.

Read more here.

Thanks to Mirella!

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