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.
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.