Butterfly Release at Times Beach Promotes Pollinator Proliferation, Protection

Modified: July 12, 2016 3:43pm

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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Thomas Hersey, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Daniel Rizzo, Jay Burney of the Friends of Times Beach, and David O’Donnell of Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm today at the Times Beach Nature Preserve to release 75 Monarch butterflies into the Times Beach Nature Preserve.

The butterflies will find places to lay their eggs among the abundant milkweed at the site and the resulting new butterfly population will then migrate to Mexico in September. Pollinator species such as butterflies and bees have seen significant drops in their populations during recent years.

“Pollinators are an essential link in the web of life, but these fragile populations are vulnerable to stressors and pollutants that decimate them,” said Poloncarz. “By restoring pollinator habitats in our parks we are helping to shore up these species and keep them thriving here in Erie County. Thanks to our departments of Environment and Planning and Parks, we are working with partners to rebuild and populate these critical habitats.”

Erie County has partnered with the Great Lakes Alliance, corporate volunteers CAPCO, and Friends of Times Beach to create a Pollinator Conservation Area at Times Beach over the past two summers. The goal is to restore pollinators to all of Western New York, and Erie County is focusing on doing extensive native planting at natural habitat parks to attract pollinators.

The Erie County Department of Environment & Planning, along with the Parks Department, manages the Times Beach Nature Preserve in addition to three other pocket parks: Seneca Bluffs, Red Jacket Riverfront, and Bailey Peninsula Natural Habitat Park. Major habitat and shoreline restorations to enhance pollinator activity are being done at these locations in 2016 with funding provided by the US EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“Everyone loves butterflies, and it is a great way to reach the public on the importance of native plants to our pollinator species,” said Dave O’Donnell of Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm. “The Monarch Butterfly is a great messenger, and the fact that they are disappearing is a very big message.”

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/

On the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/