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NIEHS Joins the Butterfly Highway

NIEHS Joins the Butterfly Highway

Butterfly Highway

By Bill Willis

August 12, 2016

You’ve probably seen a lot more butterflies on the NIEHS campus this year. As part of its efforts to enhance biodiversity and native landscape plantings on campus, both NIEHS’ Memorial Garden and the recently planted wildflower meadows are now an official part of the Butterfly Highway initiative organized by North Carolina Wildlife Federation.

NIEHS Wildflower Meadows Progression

Field of newsly planted flowers
Planting of the meadow began in March 2016.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Willis)

The new wildflower meadows run along the eastern edge of Lakeview Drive across from the softball field. Another bed occupies the medium along Environmental Parkway. These areas were cultivated and planted in March 2016, and by June 2016 they were full of brightly colored flowers.

In addition to supporting butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects, the meadows will also provide pollen and nector sources for recently installed campus honey bee hives and bee boxes. Official Butterfly Highway signs are posted at the WAIT sign and the entrance to the Memorial Garden.

The Butterfly Highway is a statewide conservation initiative that aims to restore native pollinator habitats to areas impacted by urbanization, land use change and agriculture. The Federation has worked to create a connected network of native flowering plants across the state to support butterflies, bees, birds and other pollen and nectar dependent wildlife.

Meadow of flowers starting to bloom
By late April 2016, the meadows were beginning to show color.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Willis)
Field of flowers
In June 2016, cosmos and corespsis flowers began to blossom in the meadow.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Willis)
Corn flowers
The meadow sprouted many brightly colored corn flowers.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Willis)
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