Bring On The Pollinators!
Butterflies, bees and other pollinators help to keep our fields, parks and gardens in bloom—and food on our plates. Here’s how we can all help to save these essential creatures.
It all started with butterflies. More than 15 years ago, Sylvie Chantecaille was in her garden in eastern Long Island and noticed that the monarch butterflies that swept through her bloom-filled yard each year had nearly vanished. This realization led her on a mission to discover the impact of toxic pesticides and climate change on these fragile pollinators, and the launch of our first philanthropy collection, Les Papillons.
All these years later, protecting butterflies, bees and other pollinators remains a top priority for Chantecaille, as we continue to recognize the outsized role that they play in our ecosystem renewal. These industrious creatures support the regeneration of more than 85% of flowering plants, including food crops—or 1 in 3 bites of food on our plates. But they are all highly sensitive to habitat loss, toxic pesticides and climate change, and have been declining at alarming rates. Butterflies and bees need access to pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes to survive—and, in turn, will keep these landscapes thriving.
Left to right: California habitat kits; a hedgerow to increase habitat connectivity; a wildflower field. Photos courtesy of the Xerces Society.
Bringing Back Pollinator-Friendly Habitat
In a year when restoring health and balance to our planet is a priority, we are once again bringing attention to the power of these fragile yet transformational pollinators with our Butterfly Lip Chic, in honor of the Xerces Society. A nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon (who we first teamed up with on our Philanthropy Cheek Shade in Bee), the Xerces Society is dedicated to conserving invertebrates and their habitat. They have successfully revitalized more than 2.5 million acres of land for butterflies and other pollinators.
One of Xerces’ most successful conservation strategies has been to create pollinator “corridors” across farms, roads and natural areas so that butterflies, bees, and other invertebrates—who are typically too small to fly long distances—have waystations in which to rest, reproduce, feed or pollinate. These corridors are created by planting “habitat kits,” climate-adapted native plants that are used strategically in areas where pollinator resilience is critical—especially around cropland, explains Angela Laws, an endangered species conservation biologist on Xerces’ team. Chantecaille will be making a donation to support the restoration of more than 40 acres of habitat in California’s Central Valley, the source of a quarter of our nation’s food.
“Even a small garden can make a difference—you will soon see a variety of wild bees and butterflies visiting!”
The habitat kits we’re investing in incorporate a mix of drought-tolerant native shrubs and flowering plants such as toyon, ceanothus, and buttonbush. Some of these kits can be used to create hedgerows to plant alongside farmland, while other kits are earmarked for restoring natural areas like grasslands or wildflower meadows with plants including coyote mint, pacific aster, goldenrod and milkweed—the host plant for monarch butterflies. Each kit is tailored to the region in which it is planted, taking into account future climate shifts to help pollinators adapt and move across the landscape.
Left to right: A sign from Xerces’ “Bring Back the Pollinators” campaign; blue butterfly (family Lycanidae); skipper (family Hesperiidae). Photos courtesy of the Xerces Society.How Everyone Can Support Pollinators
You don’t have to live near a farm to have an impact on the survival of our pollinator population. Anyone with a backyard, windowsill, or access to a community garden can help by planting pollinator-friendly plants and protecting them from toxic pesticides. “Individual action can definitely make a difference when it comes to pollinator conservation,” Laws says. To learn more about how you can help, join Xerces’ Bring Back the Pollinators campaign. And for intel on region-specific resources and what pollinator-friendly plants will thrive in your area, visit their resource-rich Pollinator Conservation Resource Center.
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