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Castlegar wins Communities in Bloom Heritage Conservation Award

Award recognizes the Butterflyway pollinator garden at the Kootenay Gallery of Art
Twin Rivers Elementary students helped to plant the pollinator meadow near the Kootenay Gallery of Art. Photo: Castlegar Butterflyway

Castlegar has won the National Communities in Bloom 2023 Heritage Conservation Award for the Butterflyway pollinator garden at the Kootenay Gallery of Art.

Communities in Bloom is a volunteer and partnership-driven organization that uses a multi-tiered competitive evaluation process to foster community strength, involvement, and continuous improvement. The award recognizes preservation or restoration of natural heritage.

The Butterflyway garden was the brainchild of Olga Hallborg, who began the initiative in 2020. The Butterflyway Project is a citizen-led movement to create habitats for bees and butterflies launched by the David Suzuki Foundation.

The project has had ongoing support by Castlegar Communities in Bloom (CIB) and the Kootenay Native Plant Society.

Castlegar CIB said, “A special thank you to Olga Hallborg, our champion on this project, and her team.

“This is the result of a community coming together for a common cause. Hopefully this award inspires and encourages the City of Castlegar to continue to support the gardens at the Kootenay Gallery of Art, and also to create similar heritage plantings at other city properties for the health of our environment.”

Hallborg adds, “I would like to emphasize the importance of the award for all of us to recognize the value of native plants, and I hope this award will encourage us to continue converting our private and community plantings into native plant gardens.”

She also thanked Darlene Kalawsky, Valentine Field, Bren Beckwith, KinSeed Ecologies, Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, Trowelex, Columbia Power and the Castlegar Community Association.

Castlegar was also given a 5 Blooms – Bronze recogniztion in the Circle of Excellence non-competitive category. The 5 Blooms mark is the highest available, and there are four levels within the designation, with bronze being a step above the basic 5 Bloom level.

CIB judges said they were impressed with the city’s use of the Silva Cell Modular System for enhancing urban tree growth. The Silva Cell is a modular suspended pavement system that uses soil volumes to support large tree growth and provides on-site stormwater management through absorption, evapotranspiration, and interception.

READ MORE: Castlegar students help plant 1 million seeds for pollinators

Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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