Hunt Club’s Butterflyway ProjectMay 31, 2021 - By Zivana Pavic
One snowy January morning, an email arrived from the David Suzuki Foundation, calling on communities across Canada to help restore habitats for local bees, butterflies and other pollinators on the verge of extinction. On a cold wintry day there is something deeply satisfying in dreaming of butterflies, and pink, purple and yellow flowers being kissed with plump bumblebees and hummingbirds. The images of Hunt Club’s green spaces and beautiful yards and gardens from my neighbourhood walks, rushed into my mind, and before I knew it, the Butterflyway cocoon was born.
Why You Should Care
One third of the food we eat and three quarters of world’s flowering plants depend on the tireless work of pollinators. They contribute to the biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems, to agricultural production and our nutritional security, and production in medicine, biofuels, fibres and even construction materials. The estimated economic value that pollinators create in the world’s crop production is approximately half a trillion dollars every year.
Beyond the economic impacts, global pollination experts warn that the extinction of pollinators would lead to an ecological and food production disaster of unseen proportions. While the volume of pollinator-dependant crops has grown by 300% in the last fifty years, the number and variety of pollinator species are in a consistent and staggering decline. Some 40 species of bees alone are being seriously endangered. The cumulative impacts of the extensive use of pesticides, intensive agriculture management, invasive plant species, pathogens, and pollution have led to a shrinking number of indigenous plants and a sharp decline of pollinator species and their habitats.
First Butterflyway Pollinator Patches
Thankfully in Hunt Club, Councillor Riley Brockington is championing the Butterflyway Project, and there are residents who are interested in helping to restore pollinator habitats.
As a result, the city has recently installed a pollinator patch at the Hunt Club Riverside Park Community Centre. With a bit of loving care, in two-to-three years from now, this will turn into a lush carpet of colourful wildflowers where pollinators can survive through the winter and thrive in warmer days. Similarly, volunteers on the Butterflyway Project will plant pollinator patches of varying sizes at several Hunt Club locations this summer, and at least five private properties will be hosting a Butterflyway pollinator patch. All these actions will help create habitats where pollinators can find food, water and shelter.
Councillor Riley Brockington in the first public space pollinator in Hunt Club
First Butterflyway pollinator patches in Hunt Club’s private yards and gardens
We will be marking the locations of Butterflyway patches in Hunt Club’s public and private spaces, and adding pollinator gardens of all shapes and sizes, from a balcony’s mini patch to a garden pollinator site. Our vision is for Hunt Club to become a leading community in Ottawa in establishing pollinator patches, and we will strive to ensure that at least half are certified by the Canadian Wildlife Federation as a wild-life friendly habitat. Keep an eye on the map of local pollinator patches which will be updated periodically.
What You Can Do to Help
You can help out on the Butterflyway Project or plant a few wildflowers in planters or in your garden and ask your neighbours to do the same. Often the smallest things can make a big difference.
If you want to add your pollinator patch to Hunt Club’s pollinator patches map, or if you would like to volunteer on the Butterflyway project, please complete the Volunteer Registration Form. Learn more about Hunt Club’s Butterflyway Project here.