Welcome! This blog is inspired by the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve in Gardena, California.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Pollinators and Butterflies

Surveying pollinators on native plants - Mother Nature's Backyard

It’s summer and the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve is literally buzzing with activity.  Butterflies and other pollinators are busily making nests, collecting food and setting up housekeeping.   Now is one of the best  times to visit the Preserve.  Whole families can participate in the interesting activities that take place this time of year.

Pollinators are butterflies, bees, flies and other creatures that pollinate the flowers of fruits, vegetables and other foods.  These plants can’t produce if they aren’t pollinated.    In fact, about 80% of all flowers require living pollinators; without them our lives would be less colorful, less fragrant – and hungrier.   We owe our pollinators a huge debt of gratitude.  

Recent visitors to Mother Nature’s Backyard garden (located in the Preserve) were amazed at the number of hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects visiting the flowers.   No wonder the garden and Preserve produce lots of native fruits and seeds!   The staff of Mother Nature’s Backyard can help you make your own home garden more productive by attracting native pollinators.   Just ask for suggestions.

On a recent Sunday, teams of ‘citizen scientists’ surveyed the pollinators visiting several native plants. Their results will be compiled to give us a better idea of important pollinators in local gardens.  Anyone who visits the garden from now through October can participate in the survey; just ask for a survey clipboard at the garden.    You can also take the survey at home (see http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2013/06/citizen-scientist-2013-mother-natures.html for details).

July is ‘Butterfly Celebration Month’ at the Preserve.  A great way to experience local butterflies is to take a butterfly walk with Tracy Drake (Manager/Naturalist, Madrona Marsh).   Ms. Drake will lead a butterfly walk on July 14th at 1:00 p.m.   You’ll see butterflies in their natural surroundings.  You will also learn how to capture butterflies without hurting them and get to photograph them up close.  This is a great activity for families.   Visitors will receive a handout with colorful pictures of local butterflies and a brochure on home butterfly gardens.

Learn more about pollinators at:


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