The Burkeville Butterflyway Project started when I responded to an email from the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) in January 2021. DSF was looking for volunteers to apply to become a Butterflyway Project Ranger. The DSF Butterflyway Project is a citizen-led movement creating habitat for local butterflies across Canada.
I was accepted as a Butterflyway Ranger. With the support of the DSF through many Zoom meetings and access to their google documents I formulated a plan.
My plan was to get families in my community of Burkeville (on Sea Island by YVR) to plant a “patch” of native plants from the list recommended by the DSF in order to create a butterflyway. I would source out, purchase, and distribute the plants.
We have a monthly community newsletter. I wrote an article for the newsletter explaining about the DSF Butterflyway Project. It included information that we need to plant native plants – both host and nectar- in order to attract local butterflies and other pollinators. 10 families responded which ended up being a perfect amount.
Early in April I was sourcing availability of local native plants at a few different local nurseries. At that time availability was good. By the time I was awarded the Responsive Richmond Neighbourhood Small Grant (In May) supply had dwindled. This was a challenge to me but a positive outcome for butterflies as more native plants are being planted.
Getting awarded the $500 Grant enabled me to meet the minimum requirement at Nat’s Nursery-a wholesale grower (based in Langley) of Pacific Northwest native plants. I emailed Nat’s with my native plant wish list. Again, some plants were sold out. After emails and a phone conversation with the customer service representative I was able to finalize an order.
My daughter and I each drove our hatchbacks to Nat’s once the order was ready for pickup.
The 10 families each received enough native plants to create a designated butterflyway garden – 9 different types of plants and 16 plants in total.
During the spring a pilot project, “The Maahi Project”, was initiated in Burkeville. This project aims to empower people to grow their own food. I collaborated with the organizers as they were interested in what plants I had secured, plus I could let them know about availability and nurseries that specialize in native plants. We had a great discussion on the importance of native plants in attracting pollinators.
For me, on doing research, I have learned a lot about local native plants and butterflies. Walking on the Richmond dykes or at Terra Nova I can identify many native plants.
This project has provided awareness of the benefits of local native plants to both me and the Burkeville Community.