Perhaps, you are experiencing the same alarming reduction in butterfly populations in your garden as I am in mine. These lovely little creatures who so captivate us need to be recognized as the sobering bellwether that they are. Just as the single sheep wearing a bell on its neck warns the rest of the flock that there is danger nearby; the butterfly population decline serves as a solemn warning that thousands of other species are facing steep population losses, and, in some cases, extinction. Hopefully, the beauty and seemingly carefree flight of surviving butterflies can enchant all of us into transforming our yards and public lands into lush wildlife habitats. This transformation takes more than elbow grease and plants, it also requires the bravery to give up plants and activities that are dear to us. In short, we must change in ways that feel uncomfortable.
With all of this in mind, it is helpful to explore the intersection of our human needs and preferences with those of plants and wildlife. If each of us can transform the land that surrounds us at home and beyond in some small way, we will increase the odds that our flora and fauna will survive and thrive along with us. How can we create landscapes and gardens that fully support wildlife that are also efficient to maintain and visually satisfying? How can we ensure that native plants are freely available to people in all different settings? How can we change our cultural norms of beauty from manicured mowed lawns to a greater percentage of land dedicated to mixed beds, meadows, hedges, and woodlands? How can we do all of this in a way that is fun and compelling? I look forward to exploring all of that with you!