The Butterfly Project
Good morning everyone! Today instead of a service and sermon, I have something very special for you. Back in February you may recall one of the sermons talked about the butterfly project being done by the David Suzuki foundation. Back then, I asked If anyone wanted to volunteer to be part of this amazing project. The idea is simple. Volunteers get seeds of native plants, and plant them in their gardens, on balconies, or wherever they wish. The purpose is to create butterfly flyways to help endangered species of butterflies as they migrate and pollinate in our area.
I’ve been working on getting our parish into the program since that day in February. Making the application, attending webinars, communicating with the David Suzuki Foundation, and taking the training needed. St. Andrew’s is now a member of the project!
The purpose is to create nourishing habitat for butterflies, as well as pollinating insects such as bees. The idea is simple. Get as many people involved as we can. Find local businesses that sell native plants, and in a few simple stages, create places for the butterflies to rest and feed as they migrate.
There are approximately 250 groups across Canada engaging in this project this year. And St. Andrew’s was the only church group accepted in Nova Scotia! But of course there were challenges, due to nationwide lockdown. But within those challenges, there is a wonderful opportunity to join together in creating something beautiful and meaningful. We may not be able to meet in groups, but we can be many people united in doing something for creation, for God, and for one another.
What I am proposing for Saint Andrew’s is that we do this in two stages. In stage one, we keep in contact and share information about where we can get seeds, and what kind. We share those around and create butterfly habitats in our own backyards, gardens, balconies… any place where we can simply care for them the same way we would any other part of our garden. That is step one. And we get to enjoy the beautiful flowers as they blossom, and both butterflies and bees as they come to visit, feed and pollinate.
Step two will be to go out to local trails and parks, which we can do now as restrictions were lifted this week. and do fall plantings which we leave over the winter and check on in the spring to be sure they are doing well. In my imagination I see beautiful blossoms along the BLT trail, just for our butterflies and bees!
There are a few things I love about this project. One comes from our sense of faith and being stewards of creation. We are all acutely aware of the ongoing environmental crisis and climate change. Perhaps not everyone is aware of that globally our insect species have gone approximately 45% extinct. Pollinators such as bees have been declared the most important beings on this earth for our survival. Butterflies of course are so beautiful, are great pollinators, and most species of butterflies are endangered.
Doing something as simple as creating habitats, flyaways and sanctuaries, whether on our own properties or out along nature pathways, makes a huge difference for their survival. It cannot be underestimated. Now imagine if 20 of us from Saint Andrew’s engaged in this project. Then multiply that by at least 250 new groups just this year doing the same thing across Canada. Each person in each group planting dozens of butterfly flowers on their properties, and along trails, and so on. This becomes thousands of plantings Canada wide, tens of thousands of flowers, and uncountable numbers of butterflies, bees and other pollinators becoming stronger and healthier because of us.
And yet it is such a simple project. It’s just a bunch of people from Saint Andrew’s, getting some appropriate butterfly feeding plants, and making a little sanctuary for them.
If you would like to join me in this effort, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will put together our group, and we can start!
In addition to all the above wonderful reasons to do this, I also feel it is a wonderful chance for us to do something together, during this time of lockdowns and social isolation. One of the things we struggle with the most when all normalcy is gone, stress is extreme, and we are facing many difficult stressors, is the struggle for meaning and purpose. Human beings are not meant to be alone, we are meant to be together. We are meant, and deserve to have a sense of what each day means, the goodness we have brought into the world on this day, and a sense of purpose. If we cannot meet together on Sundays to be strengthened, and have our sense of meaning and purpose renewed… we
can certainly be united in something very meaningful. And I feel this project, is all about that.
A very special part of this project for Saint Andrew’s will be done by the Sunday school. It would be wonderful to have a butterfly sanctuary on the parish grounds. So our Sunday school will soon be reaching out to students and parents to arrange a day where each student can show up with his or her parents to plant some of the seeds in the Sunday school garden, with about 15 minutes per family to maintain social distancing. Along with that, everyone who contacts me by email will become part of the gardens and balconies group and do their plantings at home. And then as mentioned in the next stage, in the fall we will do some plantings along trails and parks.
So email me folks!!! We can have as many volunteers as we like. There is no limit.