A group of volunteers has been working on creating a perfect spot for butterflies at the Kootenay Gallery of Art.
The project is spearheaded by Olga Hallborg whose passion for environmental causes inspired her to join the Butterflyway Project — a citizen-led movement to create habitats for bees and butterflies launched by the David Suzuki Foundation.
Hallborg is one of 251 people across Canada who became Butterflyway Rangers this spring.
A Butterflyway is a group of a dozen pollinator patches grouped in one area. Hallborg hopes the gallery is just the first of many pollinator-friendly spaces created in the area.
Hallborg says spaces can be created almost anywhere — private yards, schools, road shoulders, city spaces.
Many groups and individuals have helped with the project including the Kootenay Native Plant Society (KNPS) and Castlegar Communities in Bloom (CIB).
Hallborg specifically credits Kootenay Gallery director Val Field, CIB coordinator Darlene Kalawsky and Brenda Beckwith with KNPS for helping the project come to fruition.
“If not for them, the work would not be possible,” said Hallborg.
Hallborg says KNPS provided valuable advice on choosing the proper plants and creating a planting plan for the Butterflyway. They also gave instructions on how to ethically collect seeds and when and how the plants should be planted.
The gallery turned out to be the perfect place for Castlegar’s first Butterflyway since the gallery was looking for some help to manage its garden area and Hallborg was looking for a space to create the Butterflyway.
Over the last few months, weeding, clearing and preparation work has been underway and more than 60 native plant seedlings were put in the ground at the end of October.
The spot is also a registered Monarch Waystation.
“My heart is full of joy for us, our children, and this community, as well as for all pollinators, native plants and other species,” said Hallborg after the new plants were finally in place.
Having the plants in the ground doesn’t mean that the project is completed.
“Just because the plants are native, doesn’t mean they don’t need maintenance,” explained Hallborg. “It will continue to be work to keep out the invasive species.”
For more information or to volunteer, go to the Castlegar Butterflyway Facebook page.