Save the Butterflies: Subaru Partners with NFW for Butterfly Heroes Project
No, Butterfly Heroes is not the long-awaited sequel to A Bug’s Life, and yes, I know that would be awesome, but I’m just a writer in Nowhere, Ohio, so I can’t help you there. Instead, Butterfly Heroes is a project launched by the National Wildlife Federation (NFW) and presented by corporate partner Subaru. The initiative hopes to get 100,000 Americans to pledge their support to save the monarch butterfly, whose population has dropped as much as 90% since 1996, when estimates hovered around one billion butterflies. For those who are bad at math, that puts us at about one hundred million remaining monarchs.
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Why is it important to preserve the monarch butterfly population? In an ominous tone that is reminiscent of Marky Mark’s discussion of bees in that terrible movie I for some reason paid $5 for at Target one drunken night The Happening, Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of NFW, explains that butterflies and other pollinators (like hummingbirds and Mark Wahlberg’s bees) are responsible for “one of three bites on average dinner plate.”
To get the 100,000 Americans to pledge their support, the NFW plans to distribute more than 50,000 Butterfly Hero Garden Starter Packets to individuals who take the Butterfly Hero pledge. Subaru will hand out an additional 50,000 kits at its dealerships throughout the United States. But it’s not just Subaru backing the initiative. The Disney Conservation Fund and Botanical Interests are also backing the project to ensure its success.
So what can you do when you take the pledge to protect and preserve our world’s butterfly population? The easiest yet most effective thing you can do is to plant milkweed seeds in your yard, garden, and community spaces. Seeds are provided in the starter packets from the NFW, but they can be easily obtained online or at stores such as Lowe’s.
Spread the word by taking a photo of yourself making the international sign of the butterfly. Post it to social media encouraging people to plant milkweed, and then submit the photo online. Doing so will get you a free kit while supplies last. If you enter by June 1st, you’ll even be entered to win a trip for four to Walt Disney World.
Monarch butterfly numbers have dropped dramatically due to loss of habitat here in the US, as well as degradation of their winter habitats in the south. The Butterfly Heroes project hopes to address that with the planting of milkweed and nectar plants, which provide a home for the monarchs to raise their young, as well as food, water, and cover from the elements. The NFW also recommends installing bird baths or other water fixtures in your garden. Doing so will earn your butterfly station a designation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
In addition to handing out Butterfly Hero garden kits at dealerships, Subaru will also install hundreds of demonstration gardens on dealer lots, to showcase to customers how these gardens work. Alan Bethke, vice president of marketing at Subaru of America, summed the project up nicely: “Through our ‘Subaru Loves the Earth’ initiative, we are always looking for opportunities to help raise awareness of critical issues affecting wildlife and our environment and we’re excited to work alongside the National Wildlife Federation to empower thousands of Butterfly Heroes nationwide.”
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- Timothy MooreManaging Editor
Timothy Moore hails from Dayton, Ohio, and tries to bring that Midwestern flavor to his writing. (But as it turns out, no one really likes the Midwestern flavor.) He has been covering the auto industry for years, with several national auto shows under his belt, but he’s been writing about lots of other things (like dragons and Mickey Mouse and cows drowning in milk) since he was just a tot. Outside of the land of cars, Timothy enjoys watching The Office and consuming excessive amounts of peanut butter and beer, and is on the board of an up-and-coming Dayton theatre company called The Playground. And when he’s not on stage (or three jars into a peanut butter binge), Timothy spends time with his mischievous dog, Greyson. See more articles by Timothy.