Photo: How to be a Butterfly Ranger

Flower gardens are beautiful but what butterflies need most are "host" plants for their caterpillars to eat. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

You can help butterflies and bees!

Starting in February, the David Suzuki Foundation is recruiting residents from five cities across the country to join The Butterflyway Project. Keen volunteers will be trained as local Butterfly Rangers to help create patches of butterfly- and bee-friendly habitat throughout their neighbourhoods.

Join The Butterflyway Project in Victoria, Richmond, Montreal, Markham and Toronto. (Don't feel left out if your city isn't on the list. Subscribe to my digest for tips on creating a butterfly haven where you live!)

Applications for the Victoria troop will be accepted February 2 to 19.

After one or two inspiring days of training (duration depends on city), Rangers will go back to their neighbourhoods with a mission: Plant native wildflowers and shrubs in yards, schoolyards, boulevards and parks — and have fun!

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What butterflies need most are "host" plants for their caterpillars to eat. Flower gardens are beautiful —- many butterflies feed on nectar from a variety of plants. But they may ONLY lay their eggs on — and their caterpillars will ONLY eat — a few species. For example, of the 70 butterfly species recorded on Vancouver Island, 10 prefer to lay eggs on oceanspray or stinging nettle.

Want to wow your family, friends and neighbours with more butterfly facts AND create much-needed habitat? Be a Butterfly Ranger!

Once a Ranger troop plants a dozen or more pollinator patches in a neighbourhood, it will get official David Suzuki Foundation Butterflyway designation, including signs and inclusion in the national Butterflyway Project map.

What steps will you take to help butterflies and bees — leaving the leaves, keeping some of your yard messy, planting host and nectar plants?

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green (and Victoria Butterfly Ranger trainer)

P.S. We're also looking to partner with local groups, businesses and institutions willing to support a local troop of Rangers by helping spread the word — even get their hands dirty! Learn more here.

January 31, 2017

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Feb 28, 2017
11:47 AM

Hello, I’m interested in getting more info. on the butterflyway project. I live in the Beaches area in Toronto but would like to know what the time commitment is on weekly basis and throughout the season if I was chosen as local butterfly ranger. How many people would need to be part of the local group? I am interested primarily to get my son’s school involved since I am part of their green committee. This would be a great project for the eco-kids to participate in. Thanks.

Feb 13, 2017
9:03 AM

How can we get this training to happen in Ottawa? It seems rather odd that there isn’t one in the capital city of the country!

Feb 12, 2017
6:13 AM

Love to help out in Victoria.

I have knee trouble so can’t kneel too well, but I would love to take the training and somehow use it witn preschool parents as a guest speaker.

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