Gardeners in North Vancouver have created a corridor of flower patches to attract pollinators, a nation-wide project spearheaded by the David Suzuki Foundation.
Stephen Deedes-Vincke and some of his Dollarton neighbours spent a Saturday this April learning about the science of bees and butterflies and the connection between the food we eat and pollinators, training to be butterflyway rangers.
Besides creating a friendly environment for pollinators, making a butterflyway creates a friendly environment for humans, too, explained Deedes-Vincke who is one of the 20 North Vancouver butterflyway rangers.
“This butterfly project has brought this community and people together,” he said. “It is as important as doing the butterfly project.”
People are spending time in their laneways, chatting about gardening but connecting as neighbours, he added.
Deedes-Vincke said he finds it “sad” that people in neighbourhoods don’t talk to one another, but this project has brought people together.
To become an official butterflyway lane, a neighbourhood-scale corridor for pollinators, residents need to plant 12 patches of flowers that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. The North Vancouver butterflyway rangers planted more than double that, 25 patches, in the laneway behind Bournemouth Crescent.
In order to become butterflyway rangers, Deedes-Vincke and some of his neighbours attended an all-day workshop where they learned about the science of butterflies and other pollinators, and had a lectures on what wild plants attract butterflies.
They also had a lecture by chef Ian Lai who illustrated for the participants the connection between pollinators and the dinner plate, pointing out that half of what we eat is dependent on pollinators.
Since he did the course, Deedes-Vincke has gotten a few more of his neighbours involved. Some have come on as “satellite rangers” and others have become full-fledged butterflyway rangers.
One doesn’t need a backyard to create a hospitable environment for butterflies, Deedes-Vincke explained.
“It can be as small as your balcony or a huge bed outside your home,” he said.
Nine cities across the country have butterflyway rangers. In addition to the 25 butterfly patches in North Vancouver, there are several dozen in Richmond and 10 in Victoria.
This Saturday, the public is invited to celebrate the District of North Vancouver’s first Butterflyway Lane and meet local rangers at a family-friendly event that includes refreshments, face-painting, live music and a magic show.
The rangers will be on hand to talk about their pollinator-friendly gardens.
The event takes place Saturday, Sept. 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the laneway between 500 Bournemouth Crescent and 2800 Dollarton Highway (entrance from Ellis Street).