David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Canoe Garden
Southbridge Lakehead was quite the scene on July 27th as Residents, Recreation Staff and Willow Springs took part in the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway project; a project designed to create pollinator patches throughout Canada. Symbols of the Butterflyway project are pollinator gardens planted in canoes and Southbridge Lakehead has now joined in with their front yard canoe garden! It all started in the spring when we wanted to be a satellite garden for our community partner, Willow Springs Creative Centre, an organization that offers art, gardening, and food programs. Willow Springs had been accepted as a Butterflyway Ranger as part of David Suzuki Foundation Butterflyway project. In keeping with the spirit of our home, it was fitting that we try to find a canoe that could be turned into a garden. We have a large Indigenous population that lives here at Lakehead and the canoe symbolizes one aspect of their way of life. We put the word out (thank you Toni Lynn) that we were looking for a canoe in any shape that could be used for a garden. It wasn’t’ long before we found a donation (thank you, Wendy) and it sat on our patio for several months waiting until the day we could resume activities with our Community Partners and Volunteers.
The canoe was filled with soil and native plants such as milkweed, brown-eyed Susan, lady’s mantle, bottle brush, forget-me-not, butterfly weed and others that will attract the Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Willow Springs (Julia Tribe, Artist extraordinaire, summer Artist, Mallory Gresch, Judi Vinni, Coordinator & passionate leader ) facilitated the creating of butterfly stakes by the residents that were put into the garden. As everyone should know, the plight of the Monarch is dire and anything that can be done to help restore habitat is what all good citizens of North America should do! By taking part in this planting project the Residents have filled in a piece of the puzzle and are part of the solution.
We have several stages (just like the Monarch) as part of this project. Plans are that Willow Springs will bring some plants with Monarch caterpillar eggs and caterpillars that will feed on the milkweed and hatch into the gorgeous Monarch Butterfly. We will also decorate the canoe with hand-painted wooden discs hung from the canoe showing the stages of the butterfly’s metamorphosis.
Residents who live in Long Term Care can show the rest of the community that we can all contribute to making this a better world.