750 new volunteers dedicated to helping pollinators across Canada, one wildflower at a time
TORONTO | Traditional territory of many nations (including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples) and now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples — A network of butterfly-friendly gardens blossomed throughout Canada this year with the creation of 28 new Butterflyways, bringing the total to 119. Butterflyways are volunteer-created corridors of at least a dozen gardens filled with native plants and maintained in pollinator-friendly ways.
“Our ever-expanding crew of volunteers — referred to as Butterflyway Rangers — gather friends and family to create and steward pollinator habitat in backyards, balconies, boulevards and more, making their communities beautiful and butterfly-friendly,” David Suzuki Foundation Rewilding Communities campaigner Colleen Cirillo said. “These caring and hard-working Rangers inspire me every day. It is an honour and a joy to support them.”
The foundation recruited 750 Rangers this spring as part of the seventh year of the award-winning Butterflyway Project, bringing the total to 1,450. Rangers received online training in native plants, pollinators and community organizing. They reached out to neighbours to encourage and support the establishment of native plant gardens, with the aim of planting at least a dozen to create a new Butterflyway.
Throughout the country, Rangers planted thousands of native wildflowers and grasses and hundreds of native trees and shrubs in more than 200 new gardens. Visit the project’s website for a map of habitat gardens and Butterflyways. Here are some highlights from Rangers across the country:
- Under the passionate leadership of Ranger Olga, Castlegar Butterflyway in B.C. received the Heritage Conservation Award at the 2023 National Communities in Bloom symposium.
- Ranger Cathern in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, provided native plants and guidance to 12 neighbours on her street to form the first Butterflyway on the West Island of Montreal — Montford Butterflyway.
- When developers purchased an ecologically rich parcel of land in Calgary, volunteers with Alberta Plant Rescue salvaged hundreds of plants. Ranger Tamara in nearby Okotoks gratefully accepted some of those plants and created a habitat garden on public land beside her town’s community garden. Pollinators attracted to the newly established native plants will help increase yields for food crops grown in the adjacent community garden. It’s a win for all!
- Many Butterflyway Rangers advocate for pollinator protection at the municipal level. With their guidance, towns and cities throughout Canada are modifying policies and practices to protect and restore pollinators and their habitats. In June, Ranger Tryna incorporated art and fun into the Town of Comox’s Pollinator Week celebrations.
- Ranger Julie in Markham, Ontario, worked with a local high school to provide native plant and pollinator education and to install and steward pollinator habitat on school property. Students and staff designed a sign to inform passersby of the garden’s purpose and decorated rocks to add to its beauty.
- Ranger Christine in Huron-Kinloss Township, Ontario, secured funding from her municipality and provincial and local horticultural associations to install three habitat gardens on public land, containing more than 200 native wildflowers, grasses and shrubs. Christine is confident that she and her neighbours will plant enough habitat gardens next year to achieve Butterflyway certification and proudly take their place on the national map.
From 2017 to 2019, Rangers in nine communities participated in the project. However, during the pandemic, the project grew dramatically and now supports 1,450 Rangers and their teams in more than 300 towns and cities. Since inception, Rangers have planted more than 106,300 native wildflowers and grasses and 2,900 trees and shrubs in school yards, parks, boulevards and private gardens — including a fleet of canoe gardens — from Powell River, B.C., to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to Chester’s Basin, Nova Scotia.
“We train Butterflyway Rangers to be native plant and pollinator ambassadors in their communities,” said Winnie Hwo, senior public engagement specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation. “But the training only takes this project so far. The success of the Butterflyway this year truly demonstrates what people with enthusiasm and passion for the planet can do when they come together.”
Pollinators ensure reproduction for more than 90 per cent of the world’s flowering plants. Yet invertebrate species have declined 45 per cent over the past four decades. Gardens are a proven critical food source for pollinators, especially when they contain native plants and are maintained following nature’s example.
“Cascades has been a proud supporter of the Butterflyway Project since 2017,” said Hugo D’Amours, Cascades vice-president communications, public affairs and sustainability. This project demonstrates the positive environmental and social impacts of a well-directed and informed teamwork. The David Suzuki Foundation has built a country-wide community of people supporting imperilled pollinators and the native plants they rely upon.”
The Butterflyway Project is proudly supported by national partner Cascades, with additional support from the Chamandy Foundation and Genus Capital Management.
For more information about the Butterflyway Project, visit www.davidsuzuki.org/butterflyway.
– 30 –
For more information or a media interview, please contact:
Kate Kourtsidis, David Suzuki Foundation, email@example.com, 613-806-8184
The David Suzuki Foundation (DavidSuzuki.org | @DavidSuzukiFdn) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, founded in 1990. We operate in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We collaborate with all people in Canada, including Indigenous leadership and communities, governments, businesses and individuals to find solutions to create a sustainable Canada through scientific research, traditional ecological knowledge, communications and public engagement, and innovative policy and legal solutions. Our mission is to protect nature’s diversity and the well-being of all life, now and for the future. We envision a day where we all act on the understanding that we are one with nature.
The Butterflyway Project is an award-winning national campaign to create pollinator habitat in communities across Canada.
Butterflyways completed in 2023:
- Anne’s Avenue Butterflyway, Pictou and Area, NS
- Coldwater Butterflyway , Coldwater, ON
- Cooks Creek Butterflyway, Cooks Creek, MB
- East Algoma North Channel Corridor Butterflyway, East Algoma, ON
- Glen Strae Sanctuary Butterflyway, Prices Corner, ON
- Jardin École élémentaire L’Envol, Quinte West, ON
- Jardin Plateau +, Montréal, QC
- Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Pollinator Garden Butterflyway, Kelowna, BC
- Kits Point Butterflyway, Kitsilano, BC
- Lake Albrin Park and Neighbourhood Butterflyway, Winnipeg, MB
- Laurenwood Farm Butterflyway, Loretto, ON
- Leaside Butterflyway, Toronto, ON
- Manotick Butterflyway, Manotick, ON
- McKellar Park Community Butterflyway, Ottawa, ON
- Memengway Way Butterflyway, Naotkamegwanning First Nation/Pawitik, ON
- Montford Butterflyway, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC
- Moon River Butterflyway, Willow Creek, AB
- Moosehorn-Hilbre Butterflyway, Hilbre, MB
- Ormstown Butterflyway, Ormstown, QC
- OSEAN-Alta Vista/Heron Park Butterflyway, Ottawa, ON
- OSEAN-Riverside/Hunt Club Butterflyway, Ottawa, ON
- OSEAN-Riverview/Elmvale/Urbandale Butterflyway, Ottawa, ON
- Sheree Sunshine Chantler’s Durham Region Butterflyway, Ajax, ON
- Taylor Massey Butterflyway, Toronto, ON
- The Caledon Butterflyway, Bolton, ON
- The Lions Bay Butterflyway, Lions Bay, BC
- The Rotary Club of Sechelt Butterflyway, Sechelt, BC
- Wing Way – Victoria Park South Butterflyway, Kitchener, ON