WHEREAS, butterflies play important roles as pollinators of flowers and as indicators of the health of the environment; and
WHEREAS, people are enthralled by the beauty, grace and tranquility of butterflies and are fascinated by their amazing transformations from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult butterfly; and
WHEREAS, the great state of Florida is home to more than one hundred fifty kinds of butterflies, many of them found nowhere else in the world; and
WHEREAS, by planting certain native plants and flowers, gardeners can enjoy the wonderful diversity of butterflies in their own backyard, and actually increase the populations of many butterflies;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jeb Bush, Governor of the state of Florida, do hereby extend greetings and best wishes to all observing April 2003, as Florida Butterfly and Butterfly Gardening Month.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the state of Florida to be affixed at Tallahassee, the Capital, this 26th day of February in the year of our Lord two thousand three.
Governor of the State of Florida
This is all very well, and I am proud to have been a part of its creation, but it is worth James Garner's bucket of warm "spit" unless we pitch in, dig, and make it happen.
Meanwhile, let's make it worldwide, because it costs no more, and people who are having fall deserve butterflies no less than people having spring.
Here are some things we can do to promote butterfly gardening in Florida: Distribute pamphlets on butterfly gardening, make wildflower seeds available, visit schools and neighborhoods to lecture on wildlife gardening, visit parks and work with maintenance people on preserving rare butterfly populations.
Promote neighborhood/school programs to cultivate host plants and rear populations of rare butterflies, under the aegis of Thomas Emmel and Jaret Daniels, who are designing these programs.
Give local nurseries lists of the plants you will be needing (natives) and help find local sources for the plants.
Lead tours of wildlife refuges, and help train volunteers to remove exotic pest plants without impacting local populations of rare butterflies.
Work with the DOT to develop highway plantings linking isolated populations of threatened butterflies, and to encourage neighborhood plantings along the roadways.
Work with city arborists to design green belt city plantings which lead butterflies and other wildlife along corridors ... plant host plants, identify useful "weeds" and find places where they can be preserved. Schools will maintain records, measure butterfly populations and record other wildlife use of the oases.
Create an interactive map on which people can log seasonal sightings of common and rare butterflies, all unusual sightings to be authenticated by experts.
Create online maps on which the desired range of each butterfly is plotted, so that neighborhoods can be guided to plant for their proper butterflies.
Encourage "pen pal" schools in different parts of the world to exchange butterfly data, to create an awareness of how butterflies move about, and are seasonal. Record all data on online maps, where all can follow the correspondence.
Have plant festivals at schools, where people can bring and swap host plants (with or without larvae) and exchange their experiences about butterfly gardening. Have everybody join in working on the school's butterfly garden, and set up a system of recording species seen, which butterflies oviposited, which successfully established a local population.
Add this data to the online data bank.
There is nothing on this list that cannot be done, this April, in Florida. Most of it would cost nothing except the time of the knowledgeable volunteers. Many other parts of the world can do the same, and entomologists would find their services extraordinarily useful. Pest control people would so enjoy sharing this celebration, and arborists, foresters and other plant people can be of immense help.
Dr. Benji Brumberg, Ombudsman
Office of the Ombudsman
Florida Department of Environmental Protection.