Richmond Butterflyway

Now in its fourth year, the Richmond Butterflyway is all about growth, not only for pollinator plantings and butterflies, but also for Butterflyway Rangers and their collaborative efforts.

About the Richmond Butterflyway

The Butterflyway Project is a citizen-led movement growing highways of habitat for butterflies and bees throughout Canada.

Richmond was one of the first two cities in British Columbia to join the Butterflyway Project in 2017 along with Victoria. Today, the Butterflyway Project has expanded to Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver, with smaller pilot projects starting in West Vancouver.

From the start, Richmond Butterflyway Rangers worked closely with the city’s parks programs, schools and the Richmond Garden Club to plant native wildflowers for butterflies and wild bees. The Rangers have built 50 Butterflyway patches in the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Many of our Richmond Rangers have been with us from the beginning, and new Rangers are always coming on board.

As the Richmond Butterflyway now enters its fourth year, Rangers will continue to grow. More than 50 Butterflyway Rangers will stay on to work for local butterflies like painted ladies, yellow tiger swallowtails, and other wild pollinators like bees and hummingbirds.

Richmond Butterflyway Rangers wrapped up Season 2020 on a celebratory note!

On November 25, the Butterflyway Project won the Nature Inspiration Award presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature. The award recognized the Butterflyway Rangers’ dedication, passion and commitment to wild pollinators and nature.

By planting native plants in urban habitats, Rangers helped provide food and shelter for butterflies, bees and birds in an increasingly challenging environment. In the process of helping nature, Butterflyway Rangers also discovered their own strength and built relationships with fellow Rangers.

Richmond Butterflyway Rangers had fun and learned the value of sharing with fellow Rangers during garden tours for National Pollinator Week in June, as well as garden tours throughout summer. Although COVID-19 altered some of our program this year, Vancouver Rangers showed up to host and join guided neighbourhood planting tours and community garden visits while following provincial guidelines, including smaller numbers, wearing face masks and social distancing. Rangers also met regularly on Zoom to share knowledge and updates.

That’s only a small part of what Rangers achieved this year. Two major initiatives took place in the 2020 season. First, 72 Butterflyway Rangers submitted 442 observations identifying 38 butterfly species to the David Suzuki Foundation BiMBY (Butterflies in My Backyard) project on iNaturalist — thanks to the leadership of the citizen science committee led by Tara Moreau, associate director of sustainability and community programs at UBC Botanical Garden and recipient of the 2020 Marsh Award for Education in Botanic Gardens; and North Shore Butterflyway Ranger Stephen Deedes-Vincke. With the help of UBC zoology assistant professor Michelle Tseng, Rangers will add to this initiative, looking into how Rangers’ efforts to plant for butterflies affect species abundance and diversity.

Second, Butterflyway Rangers in Vancouver, DNV, Richmond, South Surrey, Burnaby and West Vancouver planted 163 native plant patches in 2020.

With the help of our key partner the Musqueam Indian Band, the Indigenous Pollinator Plant Map Committee (IPPMap), led by Rangers Selina Pope, Lori Snyder, Anne-Marie Fenn and Carol Both and Butterflyway Rangers will have the opportunity to learn from Jill Campbell from the Musqueam language and culture department the Halkomelem (hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓) names of native plants Rangers planted in 2020, as well as the cultural stories behind each plant.



The most exciting part of the IPPMap initiative is the creation of the Indigenous Pollinator Plant Map by a Musqueam artist. The collaborative process will begin in the new year.

Thanks to Ranger Lori Snyder and youth artist Valentina Pagetto, the IPPMap initiative will be complemented by a 12-plant illustrated booklet.

Butterflyway Rangers have much to celebrate this season and much more to look forward to when the 2021 season begins in spring.

By connecting the power of human effort with nature, Butterflyway Rangers managed to empower each other and nature, one planting patch at a time!

Painted lady butterfly illustration

The 2020 season began after 86 new Rangers completed the one-day training on March 7. Rangers received a copy of the 2020 Training Manual, which highlights the wonderful work Butterflyway Rangers achieved in 2019, a 12-plant indigenous pollinator plant list and eight illustrations of popular butterfly species in the Lower Mainland.

Illustrated map of Butterflyway locations in Richmond

Richmond Butterflyway locations


Use this interactive map to explore the locations of butterfly-friendly pollinator patches that volunteer Butterflyway Rangers established in Richmond with the support of local residents, groups, schools, city officials and Foundation staff.

The green bubbles on the map show the great work our Rangers have done this year with new and expanded plantings. The red and blue bubbles show where Richmond Butterflyway Rangers have planted since 2017.