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.

Butterflyway Rangers have started planting for wild pollinators since mid-April. Apart from Vancouver, Richmond and the District of North Vancouver, Rangers in South Surrey, Burnaby and West Vancouver have also started their own pilot projects. All their plantings will be included in the 2020 Indigenous Pollinator Plant Map this fall. Watch out for their plantings and the Butterflyway lawn signs. If you want to see updates on the project, you can click on the QR code on the lawn signs.

Now, Butterflyway Rangers are busy tracking butterflies in the Lower Mainland to submit to our citizen science initiative on iNaturalist: BIMBY (Butterflies in My Backyard).

You can help by submitting your butterfly and plant photos to DSF BIMBY

If you are keen to help wild pollinators, you can also join us to become a Bee-bnb superhost.

Stay tuned for more activities and announcements in June as Rangers will celebrate National Pollinator Week from June 22 to 28.

Illustrated map of Butterflyway locations in Richmond

Richmond Butterflyway Ranger recruitment

The City of Richmond was the first municipality in the Lower Mainland to join the national Butterflyway Project with Richmond residents helping to build their first Butterflyways in 2017!

New recruits will connect with each other and with Rangers in Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver and other cities across the country.

If you live in or near River Road, Steveston, Paulik Park, Terra Nova, South Arm or other scenic areas, you will find like-minded Butterflyway Rangers to help plant native wildflowers for butterflies and bees.

If you are a teacher, school administrator, student or parent in Richmond, there is even more reason for you to apply to become a Richmond Butterflyway Ranger! Your curiosity and hard work will help us beyond planting for butterflies and wild pollinators. You will also help our community learn more about what we need to do for our local butterflies.

This year, Richmond Butterflyway Rangers will expand the scope of work established in past seasons. You will:

  • Plant native wildflowers for butterflies and other wild pollinators in and around your neighbourhood
  • Encourage friends, neighbours and school communities to plant pollinator gardens
  • Help build and promote municipal and neighbourhood-scale highways of pollinator habitat
  • Explore the relationship between indigenous plants, wild pollinators and humans, with support from the Museum of Vancouver
  • As citizen scientists, identify prevalent butterfly species through the BIMBY (Butterflies In My Backyard) initiative. Butterflyway Rangers will be supported by Tara Moreau from UBC Botanical Garden to connect citizens with science for the purposes of conservation
  • Be our ambassadors in parks program events that are planned from April through August

To accommodate B.C.’s early planting season, Butterflyway Ranger recruitment begins Monday, February 10. We’ll notify selected Rangers before the end of February to join our one-day training program on Saturday, March 7, at the UBC Botanical Garden. Recruitment for 2020 Butterflyway ended on February 28.

If you are passionate about native plants and wild pollinators like butterflies, bees and birds, join the Butterflyway Project! You’ll make a real difference for critical species humans depend on for food and well-being every day.

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.