Community is Conservation

by Andi_T_de on November 25, 2016 - 10:42pm

The article “Markham opens Canada’s 1st Municipal milkweed nursery” is an example of how local initiatives can aid in conservation. The goal of the city of Markham is to increase the number of milkweed plants available for the monarch butterflies as they migrate from Mexico back to Canada. The individuals involved in the project are the City of Markham’s mayor Frank Scarpitti, council members, the David Suzuki Foundation and the students from St. Patrick’s elementary school (David Suzuki Foundation, 2016). The nursery is located at the Milne Dam Conservation Park. This area is used as both a milkweed hotspot as well as a breeding ground to perpetuate the growth of milkweed plants. This is done through harvesting the seeds of the 800 keystone milkweed plants and then distributing these seeds to locals of the community. Through the distribution of these seeds to residents, the City of Markham promotes community awareness about the initiative. The City plans to continue moving forward in respect to creating areas in the future that encourage pollination and butterfly conservation.

            This is an important development for the city because it allows for community involvement and togetherness. The act of conservation serves in part with resource management plans, which pull on co-management practices to help maintain conservation attempts. The way this is being done in the case of the Markham butterfly conservation is by calling upon the community residence to plant milkweed. This allows for the people to monitor and assist in tracking the health of the monarch population. In doing so, community members become vital to the success of the monarch conservation project.

            This conservation plan also resembles programs that are being implemented by Parks Canada. The Markham monarch nursery uses community awareness to perpetuate the success of the project. This mechanism is similar to Parks Canada’s stewardship programs which encourages Canadians to interact with the wilderness and to help monitor the environment (Parks Canada, n.d.). Through allowing the members of the community to actively plant milkweed, they themselves become stewards and help monitor environmental health.

             In my opinion, the implementation of this conservation project is beneficial not only to the health of monarch butterfly, but also other local species. This project can pave the way for similar initiatives, which can help the conservation of other endangered or threatened species. This is important because it diverges from the traditional park oriented conservation ideal. In doing so, it brings conservation into society and introduces the ideal of conservation as an everyday practice. By creating more local practices, the act of conservation will become a bigger part of everyday society. This is highly beneficial because it will help change the ideals of society one city at a time.

            Finally, I would like to ask; do you think that conservation should be left to specialists or be the responsibility of all citizens? If it is the responsibility of citizens to govern conservation, what do you think would be the best method to gain the community involvement?


"Markham Opens Canada's 1st Municipal Milkweed Nursery ." David Suzuki Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2016. <


Secondary sources

"Common Menu Bar Links." Parks Canada - Banff National Park - Volunteer Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2016. <>.


Hi there,
I really enjoyed reading your post! I feel like a lot of people only focus on the big, international problems when they think about environmental or resource issues, so I was interested to read about a more local-scale, community-based initiative in this post. To answer your question, I believe that it depends on what the environmental issue is, but that conservation should be a collaboration between specialists, the government, and concerned citizens. The government plays an important role in addressing larger scale problems, as they have the resources and the means to do this. Unfortunately, the government does have limited human resources and funds so there comes a point where they have to choose these big problems over problems they perceive as smaller and less immediate, such as the butterfly problem you mentioned in your post. This is where community involvement becomes important, I believe, since individuals have the capacity to make an impact in this case and it would not take a lot of effort. This case reminded me of the Bluebird Man ( who took it into his own hands to help create habitats for the dwindling bluebird populations. I believe there is a role for government as well as a role for citizens to play in resource management, and the best way to gain community involvement is to make people aware of the problems that they can help make a difference in, and then find people who are passionate about the problems.


Your post caught my attention because I’ve heard about the concern around monarch butterflies and I’ve been interested in the matter for a while now. It’s nice to hear that Canadian communities are making efforts to protect the species. Humans have been the cause of endangerment for the monarch (climate change) and it’s nice to see humans are creating solutions.

To answer your last question, I think conservation should be the responsibility of everyone. All communities could help the monarch butterfly, and it would be so simple. I found a link on how to build a butterfly garden, and I think I’m going to plant one next year! I think the best method for community involvement is a community garden. I’m not sure if Guelph has one (I would assume we have a few) but in addition to the crops I think we should plant milkweed and other plants the monarchs like. To me, community involvement is important in regards to conservation because sometimes the government can’t create change on its own. We can’t rely on the government to fix everything.. we need to make change happen too!

Hi Andi_T_de,

Your title really grabbed my attention and I really enjoyed reading your blog because I happen to live near Markham and I had no idea that this amazing milkweed initiative took place. I've always had a concern and passion for monarch butterfly conservation so I'm really glad to hear that there's a community based initiative.

To answer your first question, I think this is an opportunity for everyone who is interested in conservation. I believe that specialists would be able to provide advice for citizens to move in the right direction while the community has the capacity to make a big difference.

I was wondering, what is the author's stance on the monarch butterfly initiative? Do you agree or disagree with the author's stance and why?