Volunteers in 400+ communities planting wildflowers for bees and butterflies

TORONTO TRADITIONAL TERRITORIES OF THE HURON-WENDAT, THE ANISHNAABEG, HAUDENOSAUNEE, CHIPPEWAS AND THE MISSISSAUGAS OF THE CREDIT FIRST NATION — Ahead of Pollinator Week (June 21-27), volunteers in over 400 communities throughout Canada have signed on to build corridors of habitat for pollinators as part of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project. Together, they’re planting thousands of pollinator patches, filled with butterfly- and bee-friendly native wildflowers.

“Scientists have documented that over 40 per cent of insects are now threatened with extinction, but they also say we can all play an active role in their survival by creating habitat in our yards and neighbourhoods,” said Butterflyway Project manager Jode Roberts. “It has been inspiring to see the Butterflyway’s keen crew of Rangers connecting with neighbours and local groups and encouraging them to plant native wildflowers.”

Over the first three years of the Butterflyway Project, volunteers in nine communities took part. When COVID-19 hit, the project pivoted to online training and stewardship.

“Rangers join the project because they want to be a part of the solution to the challenges pollinators like butterflies and wild bees face,” said Butterflyway Project western lead Winnie Hwo. “While we had an inkling of how much volunteers love the Butterflyway Project, we had no idea it would blossom like this during the pandemic. It’s been great news for pollinators — and a lot of fun!”

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. Research has shown that gardens are a critical source of food for pollinators like bees and butterflies and that individual action — planting native wildflowers and shrubs — can be an effective way to support these essential species.

The Butterflyway Project works through Butterflyway Rangers, volunteers who are trained by the David Suzuki Foundation to plant native wildflowers and recruit others in their community to join. This year, more than 1,200 new Rangers were recruited from throughout Canada. To date, Rangers have helped get 54,000 wildflowers into the ground and plant more than 1,000 pollinator patches.

“The enthusiasm and ingenuity of Butterflyway Rangers has been truly phenomenal,” Roberts said. “Despite these uncertain times, these keen volunteers have taken a simple idea — planting wildflowers — and made magic happen in their yards and communities.”

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Find Butterflyway communities on the Butterflyway map and learn more about the project at www.davidsuzuki.org/butterflyway

For more information, photographs of Butterflyway Rangers in action or a media interview, please contact:

Stefanie Carmichael, David Suzuki Foundation, scarmichael@davidsuzuki.org, 437-221-4692


The David Suzuki Foundation (davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.