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Fairview butterfly project promotes thinking globally

Citizens group works to create butterfly habitat, education

It wasn't quite sunny, but the weather broke just long enough on Monday, June 1, for two elementary school groups to swarm Salish Ponds Nature Park, planting pollinator and bee-friendly plants.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: FRIENDS OF FAIRVIEW - Students from Fairview and Woodland elementary schools spent June 1 at Salish Ponds Nature Park in Fairview, planting what will become a monarch butterfly way station.

“Originally the project was to simply create a butterfly way station in Fairview Salish ponds. However the more we talked about it, the more the project grew in scope,” said Brian Cooper, Friend of Fairview member and Fairview city councilor. “Today the project is a mix of educational outreach with the area schools about the importance of butterflies and pollinators and a series of plantings to expand the Fairview butterfly way-station.”

About 60 children spent 45 minutes planting milkweed, lavender and butterfly bush in an effort to help the declining monarch butterfly population.

“It's a bit cliche these days but the slogan 'Think globally, act locally' is more true then ever. It's important that adults and children understand their role and importance in the destruction and rehabilitation of habit that even the smallest creatures use,” Cooper said. “Nothing is a better poster child of that than the monarch butterfly.”CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: FRIENDS OF FAIRVIEW - Friends of Fairview President Darren Riordan, left, works alongside Reynolds High School student Bailey Cooper, Richmond Elementary School student Roxy Crunchie and Fairview City Councilor Brian Cooper as they plant milkweed and bee-friendly plants to help monarch butterflies.

A February article discussing the rapid decline in the butterfly population was a “wake-up call” for Cooper.

“I shared the article with my daughter Bailey. The Friends of Fairview group and the city of Fairview directors quickly and easily decided something needed to be done,” he said.

Along with a recent $1,200 grant from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District to promote a more long-term goal for butterfly habitats in Fairview, Public Works Director Allan Berry is working to create an educational outreach program with the butterfly habitat.

“It could be a good project for people to work on for biology, civics, how to a get a bill passed through Congress — there's all kinds of components,” Berry said. “You can take it into the arts, science, math. But we're going to start slowly. We met with Fairview Elementary (School) and then wanted to grow over a couple of years.”

The monarch has not been placed on the endangered species list yet, but if it does, Berry said it's advantageous that Fairview has already started focusing on species restoration.

“I think the education aspects are really, really important,” he said. “The more kids get to know and learn about science and nature the better.”



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