How to become a David Suzuki butterfly ranger and green up your neighbourhood

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      David Suzuki is looking for environmentally minded Canadians to become "butterfly rangers" this year and help transform their neighbourhoods into welcoming habitat for butterflies and wild bees.

      The recruitment is part of the David Suzuki Foundation's four-year-old Butterflyway Project, an initiative designed to establish green habitat networks for local insects and even hummingbirds across the country in parks, gardens, and schoolyards and on lawns, roadsides, and even balconies.

      The project has seen more than 1,000 rangers plant native wildflowers to provide food for insects while also greening up neighbourhoods from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia. 

      Those who participate will receive official ranger T-shirts and Butterflyway Project garden signs after completing free online training. To apply and to learn more about the project, go here.

      “We are looking for community-builders, storytellers, nature lovers, schemers and dreamers to become the next troop of Butterflyway Rangers,” project lead Jode Roberts said in a January 20 news release. “Rangers will receive online training and ongoing guidance on how to recruit friends and neighbours to help bring wild bees and butterflies back to their neighbourhoods, one fun wildflower planting at a time.”

      Applications must be made by February 5.

      Volunteers are asked to contribute at least four hours per month from February to October and to organize and direct a small team of likeminded volunteers from their neighbourhoods. The David Suzuki Foundation will provide ongoing support from staff and will also provide educational materials and campaign information.

      The expectation is that at least a dozen "pollinator patches" will be planted by each volunteer team during the year. According to the Suzuki Foundation, during the project's four years so far, volunteers have planted more than 54,000 native wildflowers in over 1,000 pollinator patches in at least 100 communities.

      In B.C., "butterflyways" have been established in Vancouver, Victoria, and the District of North Vancouver. B.C.'s Butterflyway Project lead, Winnie Hwo, said in the release that local volunteer rangers convinced many people to plant pollinator patches in 2020.

      Bumblebees are important pollinators.
      Wikimedia Commons/Bernie

      “Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, last year our amazing community of Rangers made magic happen by inspiring their friends and neighbours to take action and getting tons of pollinator-friendly wildflowers into the ground,” Hwo said. “We can’t wait to see what magic Rangers can conjure in 2021.”

      Two rangers in Point Grey last year knocked on hundreds of doors, handing out brochures about the project, and 60 neighbours started butterfly gardens, according to the Suzuki Foundation. The western monarch butterfly and Anna's hummingbirds are two species that benefit from the pollinator patches in the Lower Mainland.