Our activities at MGC all align with this overall initiative. While much has been done to promote awareness of the importance of all pollinators to the overall health of our eco-system and to Michigan’s agriculture/floriculture industry, it is incumbent on each and every one of us to stand up and BEE counted for recognizing and acting upon the fundamental importance of pollinators and what each of us CAN do, as individuals, to provide pollinator habitats, to preserve and protect one of our most important natural resources.
Michigan Pollinator Gardens
There are many things we can all do to create or improve pollinator habitats:
• Minimize or eliminate the use of pesticides in our gardens.
• Amend the soil to make it healthier.
• Plant native plants when possible.
• Recognize the need for and plant both host and nectar plants for a variety of pollinators.
If you are implementing these practices and want to show off your garden your can order a pollinator sign here. You can use it in you garden or a Public Garden.
When we measure our progress in creating pollinator habitat (pollinator gardens), we acknowledge and celebrate the impact that each of us has on creating a better environment. Therefore, a key tangible and measurable component of our effort is to register our gardens at www.millionpollinatorgardens.org.
Michigan Garden Clubs offers many specific programs and activities designed to help draw attention to the importance of pollinators so that together we can create an environment where they can thrive.
We have an impact when we teach not only our youth about pollinators, but also our communities, and our legislators. While more difficult to measure than the number of pollinator gardens created, these efforts have a huge potential to make a lasting difference and fundamental change in how the public thinks about pollinators and connects them with the health of our environment. To that end, we promote working with youth and other organizations to teach an appreciation of gardening and the environment.
Educational Resources for Native Plants and Pollinators
Using a specific pollinator as a teaching example is an effective way to educate both our citizens and our youth about the importance of pollinators. Butterflies are both beautiful and important to our ecosystem. The Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) is especially important to Michigan. It is found throughout the entire state and it is a permanent resident of Michigan. It does not leave in the winter as many butterflies do. The Black Swallowtail overwinters in Michigan as a pupa, making it a great butterfly for school groups to study. Each Black Swallowtail lives 2+ weeks, with 2-3 generations per year.
Butterflies contribute to thriving ecosystems and are great pollinators. Not only are they objects of beauty in our world but they are a source of food for birds, reptiles, mammals and other insects. Butterflies are harbingers of the fragility of life on our planet. They are particularly sensitive to changes in our environment from the use of harmful pesticides and the loss natural habitat areas.
The Mission of Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc. is to promote environmental responsibility. We celebrate the presence and value of butterflies; particularly, our full-time resident butterfly, the Black Swallowtail.
Educational Resources for the Black Swallowtail Butterfly
For more educational information, Contact:
Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc., supports the introduction of a bill to the Michigan legislature to designate the Black Swallowtail as the official State of Michigan Butterfly. MGC…by supporting the introduction of a bill to designate the Black Swallowtail as our state butterfly. Such a designation would promote the importance of pollinators which are crucial to Michigan’s crops. The Black Swallowtail is so appropriate as the ambassador of Michigan pollinators as it not only spends its entire life cycle in Michigan but also is distributed throughout Michigan.
Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc., is working with the Michigan legislature and other organizations to introduce a bill that designates the Black Swallowtail as the state butterfly.
HB 5642: The Black Swallowtail Bill
MGC members have worked diligently for the past five years to have the Black Swallowtail named as the official state of Michigan butterfly. On March 21st the HB 5642 had a hearing before the Natural Resources and Recreation Committee. MGC gave testimony to support the Black Swallowtail as the state butterfly for the following reasons:
- Pollinators are incredibly important to our crops. The Black Swallowtail is a non-threatening representative of pollinators and loved by all.
- The Black Swallowtail is a full-time resident of Michigan as it overwinters in Michigan as a pupa.
- The native habitat for the Black Swallowtail covers the entire state.
- It is easily spotted and identified.
- It enjoys nectar and prefers host plants that are found throughout our state.
MGC’s testimony was well received. We are hopeful for that HB5642 will move out of committee to the House floor. Please write to the Legislators on the committee to show your support.
Jeanette Meyer, Legislation Chair
Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc