Eco-Activity #136: Calling all butterflies!

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Besides being pretty to look at, did you know butterflies are also important pollinators that help keep our plants healthy and our fruits and veggies growing? For today’s eco-activity we’re helping you plant a perfect pollinator garden to give our fluttering friends a safe place to call home!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Seeds for nectar and host plants, like aster, black-eyed Susan, and milkweed (check out the planting guides available in the Pollinator Power Mission in the Earth Rangers App to help you figure out what grows best where you live!)
  • A sunny spot in a garden or a flower pot, window box, or planter
  • Topsoil
  • A small hand shovel or trowel

Here’s how to get growin’!

  • First, check the instructions on your seed packets to ensure you’re planting them at the correct depth, distance, and light conditions.
  • Get planting! Sow your seeds and water them frequently – most seeds need moisture to sprout, so watering will be extra important in the early days.
  • Besides planting native plants, there are lots of other ways to make gardens more butterfly-friendly:

– Try adding small piles of branches to attract different species of butterflies and moths.

– Pick a spot for your plants that’s as sheltered as possible from wind.

– Plant larger patches of each species to help our pollinator pals forage more efficiently.

– In addition to colorful flowers, you can make homemade butterfly food with a mix of rotting fruit (like bananas, peaches, plums, and apples) placed in a shallow dish.

– A puddling station helps butterflies stay hydrated and receive vitamins and other nutrients from muddy water. Fill a shallow dish with water, adding soil, sand, or pebbles to create a watery mud and place it near your garden.

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