Butterfly Day is Every Day

By Kent Hill

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Butterfly Day is Every Day
Pollinator gardens at Topanga Mountain School
Topanga’s Fourth Annual Butterfly Day on May 7th was a family-oriented festival celebrating pollinators and environmental stewardship with live music, butterflies, activities, food, and drink. A centerpiece of the day was a host of local environmental agencies participating in the festival to share information, news, tips, and materials to help you help butterflies. These groups are passionate about pollinators and environmental stewardship, engaging in activities that range from education, community engagement and school outreach, to native habitat establishment, ecosystem management, green landscaping, advocacy against pesticides, and pollinator-themed art. Agencies directly involved in pollinator habitat conservation and sustainable living locally include Greener Empowerment Foundation, Sassafras Shoppe & Nursery, Mermaid Native Butterfly Nursery, Poison Free Malibu, Malibu Monarch, and Full Circle Compost. These local agencies and Butterfly Day partners worked tirelessly to enhance the capacity of our Topanga and Malibu communities to support butterflies and other pollinators, such as moths, wasps, bees, beetles, bats, and lizards. These mighty little creatures are essential for propagation of approximately 80% of the world’s flowering plants and more than 75% of crop plants that feed humans. These animals also provide some of the richest and most diverse animal biology known to date, with fascinating behaviors that include not just integral symbioses with plant species but also complex social networks, life cycles, and migration patterns. With complex biology comes complex needs and the needs of pollinators are facing challenges from many sources, such as climate change, pesticide use, and habitat destruction to name a few. These challenges for pollinators present opportunities for us to engage in stewardship of some of our planet’s most important and fascinating resources.   A primary vision of the Butterfly Day Organizing Committee is to establish Topanga and Malibu as pollinator destination communities. To this end, we support the Topanga Pollinator Stewardship Program, a collaboration between Greener Empowerment Foundation and local environmental activists seeking to establish native pollinator habitats in Topanga and surrounding communities. We have proposed to the Topanga Town Council, the idea of seeking a “Bee City USA” designation from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Bee City USA is an effort to encourage communities to sustain pollinators by increasing native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides. The Green partners who showed up at Butterfly Day are well-equipped to provide you with information and resources with which you can help us attain this goal throughout the year.
Resources
Greener Empowerment Foundation is a 501-C3 non-profit organization committed to creating environmental sustainability through green solutions, education & community stewardship.  We are working together to empower communities to create sustainable ways to help stabilize the climate. We provide support through Native Plant cultivation to create a healthy habitat. Topanga has benefitted from more than 1,459 plant specimens from Xerces grant installations throughout the community. Greenerfoundation.org
Photos are courtesy of the Topanga Pollinator Stewardship Program to build pollinator habitats at Topanga community sites and local residences.
TMS students (l-r) Zane, Ayton, and Kristian planting a new pollinator habitat garden, April 2023
Bill Buerge and Sergio Jimenez preparing native pollinator plants at the Mountain Mermaid.
Hannah Wear and Stephen Powers putting in Earth Day plantings at Pebbles and Flower Power, Pine Tree Circle.

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