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Butterfly volunteers land in Hudson

By Nick Zacharias



PHOTO COURTESY APRIL MALOUF

(Left to right) Hudson Mayor Jamie Nicholls and Chris Vinson with family members are accompanied by June Penney, Leslie Alvo, Joy Osborne, April Malouf, and Isabelle Bissonnette who were all part of the crew of Volunteer Rangers with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project who planted a garden June 27 filled with native flowers to attract Monarch butterflies to Jack Layton Park.


Volunteer Rangers with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project landed in Hudson on Sunday, June 27 to plant a new garden filled with native flowers to attract Monarch butterflies and other pollinators to the picturesque shores of Jack Layton Park.

Creating a corridor for butterflies

Beneficial pollinators are critical for our ecosystem and our food systems, and the Butterflyway Project aims to support these important and often threatened species. “The goal is to create a corridor that supports the butterflies with plants that nourish them,” said volunteer April Malouf who works with the organization. “We want to create a network of areas that attract the butterflies and provide places where they can nest and thrive.”

Hudsonite June Penney of Penney Gardens joined the volunteers and provided tools for the event, where they made quick work of creating a large, rock-edged garden of native wildflowers in just a few hours on Sunday morning. Said Penney, “There were rocks here already from a previous wildflower garden, and everyone pitched in and we were able to dig them up and move them to create a border, and then fill it with all these flowers that specifically attract butterflies and other pollinators. It was amazing, all the volunteers worked hard and we were able to get the whole thing done really fast.”

More to come

When Malouf approached the town with a proposal to do the planting, the response was positive and immediate. “It was great,” said Malouf, “they said yes right away.”

“And this is just the first part,” said Penney of the morning’s results in the central area of the main entrance to the park. “There’s also going to be a horseshoe-shaped garden over there,” she said, indicating the area adjacent to the parking lot.

Added Malouf, “And when we get the supplies, we’ll be back to plant lots and lots of Milkweed all along the side of the parking area, between the parking and the wetland behind it.” She explained that Milkweed is a magnet for Monarch butterflies, and the marshy land provides an ideal nesting area for the regal insects, famous for their annual migration from here to Mexico and back.


PHOTO COURTESY APRIL MALOUF

Monarch-friendly plants include Monarda Didyma ‘Bee Balm,’ Lobelia Cardinalis ‘Cardinal Flower,’ Heliopsis ‘False sunflower,’ Echinacea Purpurea ‘Cone Flower’ and, most importantly, Asclepias Tuberosa, ‘Butterfly Milkweed’ as Monarchs can only reproduce on milkweeds as they lay their eggs underneath the leaves.


Spreading their wings

The Butterflyway Rangers are active across Canada, and these local volunteers are creating butterfly-friendly patches from Saint-Lazare to Vaudreuil-Dorion, with an eye to gaining more volunteers and creating a network of pollinator patches in private yards, school grounds, and public parks throughout the region.

The project has received financial support from the Caisse Desjardins de Vaudreuil-Soulanges to purchase the Monarch-friendly plants which include Monarda Didyma ‘Bee Balm,’ Lobelia Cardinalis ‘Cardinal Flower,’ Heliopsis ‘False sunflower,’ Echinacea Purpurea ‘Cone Flower’ and, most importantly, Asclepias Tuberosa, ‘Butterfly Milkweed’ as Monarchs can only reproduce on milkweeds as they lay their eggs underneath the leaves.

“We’re hoping more and more municipalities will pledge to become pollinator friendly,” said Malouf. She also said the Butterflyway Rangers encourage people to reach out to them, and they’ll happily bring native plants to those who’ve already started a pollinator patch, and provide David Suzuki Butterflyway signs to display on lawns and spread the word of the importance of these beautiful creatures.

They can be reached on their ‘L’effet papillon St-Lazare/Vaudreuil Butterflyway’ group on Facebook.