I went and help…

Posted: August 16, 2012 by tere1012 in Institutional Sustainability: Service Learning Experiences

I went and helped restore the butterfly garden at the Avery House native plant garden here in Corvallis.  A tree fell on the garden during our freak spring snow storm and the beds need to be repaired, the path needed to be mulched and more plants were added to bring the butterflies in to the garden. I helped out during spring term and decided to go back the last couple of weeks and spoke to Esther McEvoy, the person that runs it and she was happy to have me back.





It’s extremely important to keep butterflies in the ecosystem, as well as to keep an abundance of them in suburban areas. Lately, areas that have been largely impacted by humans, such as parks in urban areas, have seen a huge decline in the total amount of butterfly species (Van Swaay, 2009, page 1). This decrease of butterflies could be blamed on the popularity of non-native ornamentals that are being planted all over suburban areas to add a desirable effect to landscaping, but as a result, are replacing native plants which house necessary pollinators like butterflies (Burghardt, 2009, page 2). It is crucial to keep native plants in suburban and urban areas so that butterflies are provided with food and shelter. To do our own part in keeping butterflies in the community of Corvallis, our group planted only native Oregon plants–bleeding heart, geranium, iris, lupine, mallow, pearly everlasting, yarrow, and violet. If everyone helped to support a biodiversity of non-native and native plants in populated areas, then the decreasing trend of butterflies in these areas would see a boomerang effect.


Relevance to GEO 300
This project was to restore a butterfly garden because of the winter storm that destroyed their homes due to a fallen tree. In recent years there has been a major focus on ecological restoration, especially on native plants. Next to bees, butterflies are the most important insects in your garden. They are a vital representation of the health in any ecosystem, and they also act as a pollinator and a food source. Butterflies are also the most common group of herbivores whose current resource reflect long-term coevolution with plants (Ehrlich & Raven, 1964, page 158). Increased butterfly populations may point to a boost in plant diversity and other pollinator groups within restored areas. By restoring the garden, we aimed to return native plants to viticultural landscapes in order to enhance ecosystems. It is known that 96% of all terrestrial birds in North America bring up their young in part or completely on insects (Dickinson, 1999), large-scale reductions in available insect biomass may have serious conservation implications that could be mitigated with changes in landscape practices (Burghardt, 2009, page 2). Because butterflies are sensitive to changes in the environment and help warn us about unhealthy changes that are taking place, it is crucial to keep them around.




BURGHARDT, KARIN T., DOUGLAS W. TALLAMY, and W. GREGORY SHRIVER. “Impact Of Native Plants On Bird And Butterfly Biodiversity In Suburban Landscapes.” Conservation Biology 23.1 (2009): 219-224. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 May 2012.

CHRIS A. M. VAN SWAAY, et al. “Declines In Common, Widespread Butterflies In A Landscape Under Intense Human Use.”Conservation Biology 23.4 (2009): 957-965. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 May 2012.

DICKINSON, M. B,. “Field guide to the birds of North America.” 3rd edition. National Geographic Society, (1999): Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 May 2012.

EHRLICH PR, RAVEN PH.  “Butterflies and plants: a study in coevolution.” Evolution 18:  (1964): 586-608. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 May 2012.





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