In the spring of 2015, Muskoka Conservancy was the successful recipient of funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to support the development of a butterfly garden. Since then, we also received funding from the Town of Huntsville, support from local businesses (Muskoka Stonescape and Windermere Garden Centre), organizations (BNI South Muskoka), and Muskoka Conservancy members.
With this financial support, and our dedicated volunteers, we connected with Huntsville Public School to engage grades 5 and 6 students in making this project a reality!
On Monday, September 28th, Muskoka Conservancy volunteers and staff met with students in Mme. Lindsay and M. Beaton’s classes to plant butterfly gardens in two different locations on the school yard. Staff and volunteers spoke with the students about the project and why it’s important and then gave them a short lesson about how to plant. The school yard was full of eager students who worked well to plant a variety of native plant species and they also took the time to water and mulch the gardens. The classes have been taking care of these gardens and will be anxiously awaiting the return of pollinator species next spring!
This project would not have been possible without the generous financial contributions we received and the work of our devoted volunteers. Thank you, everyone, for your support!
What’s up with our pollinators?
The health of pollinator species is at risk. Improving the health of bees and other pollinators is a necessity. Without pollinators, much of the food we eat and the natural habitats we enjoy would not exist. In Canada, bees are the most common pollinator, but others include butterflies, moths, wasps, flies, some beetles and hummingbirds. These pollinators transfer pollen in and between flowers while visiting different plants for food, mating, shelter and collecting nesting materials – this process is known as pollination.
The declining health of pollinators is due to a number of factors including:
- habitat and nutrition
- pesticide exposure
- diseases, pests and genetics
- climate change
For more information on the health of pollinators in Ontario, please visit the Government of Ontario webpage.
Why are we creating this garden?
The garden that Muskoka Conservancy is working to create will be accessible to the public and one of the goals of our project is to empower landowners to implement similar projects on their own property.
Creating space for pollinators on your property is EASY! There are a variety of plant species that are native to Muskoka that can be incorporated into an existing garden, or it is also very simple to create your own garden – large or small – to enhance the natural environment on your property.
What plants do I choose?
There are a variety of native plants that will attract pollinator species to your Muskoka garden. It is important to take note of the location on your property that you are planting (example: sun vs. shade) and to consider planting a variety of species that bloom at different times of the year.
This is a list of species we plan to plant on our Butterfly Garden:
- Wild Bergamot
- Anise Hyssop
- Lance-leaved Coreopsis
- Black Eyed Susan
- Purple Coneflower
- New England Aster
- Common Milkweed
- Canada Goldenrod
- Butterfly Milkweed
- Common Yarrow
- Wild Strawberry
- Canada Anemone
- Woolly Blue Violet
- Red Osier Dogwood
- Common Elderberry
- Common Serviceberry
- Great Blue Lobelia
Click on the Pollinator garden species list to find more detailed information about these species including their bloom colour, blooming period and growth height.