By Michelle Poirier
Thanks to three local Butterflyway Rangers, Georgina is taking part in the David Suzuki Foundation Butterflyway Project.
The project is a volunteer-led, Canada wide movement to grow the habitat for bees and butterflies by planting pollinator gardens with native wildflowers.
Since 2017, official Butterflyways have been established in 75 communities and neighbourhoods across Canada.
“Wild pollinators such as butterflies and bees are crucial to human survival. Climate change, development and widespread pesticide use are compromising their habitat and food sources. The Butterflyway Project aims to help people step up efforts to help pollinators find food and shelter,” the David Suzuki Foundation website says.
Yulia Lasenko and Katie Di Tosto are working together as Butterflyway Rangers in Georgina to create 12 gardens in the area, and Judi Carr-Kartash is an independent Butterflyway Ranger in Georgina working on her own 12 gardens.
“The Butterflyway Project is hoping to cover Canada with patches of pollinator plants, so that butterflies and other pollinators have a safe path to navigate with host plants and food. Georgina wasn’t on their map yet, so there wasn’t a Butterflyway here and we decided to put one here, to put us on the map,” said Lasenko, who is a naturopathic practitioner and operates Georgina Naturopathic in Jackson’s Point.
Lasenko is looking for volunteers to help clean and plant the gardens, which will vary in size. She said the cleaning of the gardens will start soon and will involve removing invasive plant species, and then planting will begin around Victoria Day weekend.
If you can’t volunteer for the project, she said there are still ways to help by creating your own gardens on your property.
“So much of the land is owned now, that it’s important for land owners to steward their own land,” she said.
“I want people in Georgina to join in and plant their own native plant garden too. I’m also willing to help people source the plants and help with design.”
Lasenko said it is easy to source native plants in Georgina, as there is a native plant nursery in Pefferlaw, and the Zehrs Garden Centre in Keswick also sells native plants.
Native Plant Nurseries in Pefferlaw is by appointment only. For more information visit www.nativeplantnurseries.ca.
“A lot of people have plants that they like, that are European, but they’re not the best pollinator plants. An example I was thinking of are lilacs; people really like lilacs, but they’re not from here and they spread,” Lasenko said.
“There are good native substitutes, like the New Jersey Tea has very similar flowers to the lilacs, and the Woodland Phlox have a fragrance that’s almost identical to the lilacs. If you have plants that you like, then maybe there are native alternatives.”
To volunteer to help clean and plant the gardens you can reach Lasenko by phone at (647) 990-3079 or email at email@example.com.
To find out more about the Butterflyway Project, visit www.davidsuzuki.org