Sudbury

Sudbury group wants you to plant milkweed this Earth Day

A Sudbury group is encouraging people to cultivate food for the birds, bees, and butterflies again this year.

The Greater Sudbury Pollinator Garden Project and its partners are handing out milkweed seeds on Earth Day

A Sudbury group is hoping to attract more monarch butterflies to the area by providing free milkweed seeds on Earth Day. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC)

A Sudbury group is encouraging people to cultivate food for the birds, bees, and butterflies again this year.

In turn, those pollinators will help grow food for people.

The Greater Sudbury Pollinator Garden Project and its partners are handing out milkweed seeds on Earth Day, Friday, April 22.

Rachelle Niemela, one of the leaders of the project, said milkweed is especially important to ensure there's plenty of food available for a key pollinator– monarch butterflies.

"The monarch butterfly is a major pollinator, so we don't want it to disappear," Niemela said. "And it's actually just a wonderful animal."

One of the aspects that makes the monarch interesting, Niemela said, is the long and dangerous migration they take annually.

"Monarch butterflies actually migrate up to over 4,000 kilometres from the US and Canada, where they breed here and go all the way down to Florida, to central Mexico, where they hibernate during the winter," she said.

"Then they migrate all the way back, over several generations, to lay their eggs here in our gardens."

"Those then become butterflies, which then help to pollinate," she said. "It's one of the species that really has captured the imagination of people across the continent."

Rachelle Niemela, one of the leaders of the milkweed project, said the plant is especially important to ensure there’s plenty of food available for monarch butterflies. (Supplied by Susan Coventry)

Sudbury, which is home to more green space than more urban centres like Toronto or Ottawa, should be able to accommodate the species. But the reality is more complicated than just having green space, Niemela said.

"The problem with our green spaces is that many of them are manicured lawns that do absolutely nothing for pollinators," she said. "And they do nothing for the plants that are required in order to continue our biodiversity and make sure that our overall ecosystems, including the food that we grow, is actually good."

According to a statement sent by the group, intensive agriculture and other rural land development has led to a loss of milkweed across the butterfly's breeding area, which they believe contributes to their reduced numbers. 

Starting Earth Day, the free milkweed seeds are available at Seasons Pharmacy & Culinaria at 815 Lorne Street during their regular hours.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now