Monarch butterflies are in trouble and they need our help. In the fall of 2014, a newly formed community group, “Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores” spearheaded by naturalists’, Melitta Smole, Stew Nutt and Kerry Jarvis was formed. We are determined to change this situation by planting milkweed and native plants to assist Monarchs and other pollinators. In our own little way, we believe that Saugeen Shores can make a difference in the lives of the Monarch butterflies by creating a natural butterfly habitat.
In the spring of 2015, the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores, with many volunteers, planted over 1,400 native plants in a series of pods throughout Saugeen Shores. The largest pods are along the Lake Huron shoreline in the newly created Captain Spence Path in Southampton. Other pods are located at: Saugeen First Nation, MacGregor Point Provincial Park, Perkins Park, and the Bruce Count Museum and Cultural Centre. All of these pods have been certified and registered as Monarch Way Stations.
In the spring of 2016, the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores, created 3 new pods along the Saugeen Rail Trail, and 2 new pods at Perkins Park. Total number of pods now stands at 15. Over 750 native plants and 50 native shrubs were planted throughout the pods with the majority going to the newly created pods. Each of these pods are proudly and lovingly attended to by our Pod Squad Ambassadors. All pods have also been outfitted with identifying Pod sign posts. The map section on our web site identifies the exact location of each Pod.
2017 saw the creation of a new pod at Fairy Lake in Southampton and the ongoing education component of promoting; the plight of Monarch butterflies, the importance of planting native plants, and tips and techniques for successful butterfly gardening. The education component includes a regular column in the Shoreline Beacon newspaper, site visitations, community presentations, BGOSS web site, Facebook, Instagram and BGOSS programs such as Monarch tagging.
2018 marked the 4th year of plants in the ground. Our Pods are well established and flourishing. We welcomed several new Pods to BGOSS as part of our “Friends of BGOSS”, including; Chantry Island and a private home owner. BGOSS obtained a rearing license from the Ministry of Natural Resources and had 10 families participate in the first year of the rearing program. For the youth, we launched our Caterpillar Corner program by creating and producing a 24 page activity book, and leading 2 outdoor programs. On the education side of things we had our grand opening for the BGOSS Nature Lending Library: a unique library with nature only books. Presentations on butterfly gardening and BGOSS were made to 7 community groups throughout Bruce County and we participated as a vendor at the World Wildlife Habitat Council conference in Baltimore, Maryland. A milkweed plant and seed give away day was also organized. On March 27, one of our tagged Monarchs from 2017 was recovered in Mexico. This is our second recovered monarch! 2018 was also a great year for tagging monarchs as we tagged 893 Monarchs.