Once upon a time on a hot day in July, a group of dedicated Mountain Rose Herbs volunteers struck out to help one of our non-profit partners. With water in our canteens and homemade organic sun screen in tow, we followed the river path to our worksite – the herbicide-free butterfly meadow.
Over 24 species of butterflies once called this former upland prairie and oak savanna home. Due to loss of habitat, only 7 remain. The Whilamut Natural Area is located in an urban park and is particularly special to both us and the Walama Restoration Project (WRP), who is working to provide a corridor for rare butterfly species with their seed collection and nursery program.
Walama Restoration Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental stewardship and biological diversity through education and habitat restoration. They are committed to the rehabilitation of threatened or degraded areas in our community. One of the first steps is to remove invasive plants and make room for the natives. WRP’s preferred method to remove invasive plants is to do it chemical-free and we agree!
Conventional weed control involves spraying harmful, toxic herbicides. With care and conscience, WRP removes unwanted plants by hand and utilizes shade cloth, thermal treatment and an organic foam treatment. That day, our group of volunteers helped to maintain the shade cloths already in place. We also removed invasive plants by hand that were creeping out at the seams and border of the plot.
The belief that we can and need to do better without pesticides brought us to this meadow. And WRP has real success stories. In 2004, the Great Copper butterfly (Lycaena xanthoides), a species absent since the 1970s, reappeared in the West Eugene Wetlands across from the Mountain Rose Herbs campus!
After a long day in exhausting 90 degree heat, we packed up our shovels, loppers, mattocks, and wheel barrel. It was time to call it a day. Along with organizing Mountain Rose River Projects like these, we help to educate and build awareness about natural alternatives to pesticides.
Take a stand by pledging not to use herbicides and post a Pesticide-Free Area sign in your garden or on your lawn.
The end…or only the beginning?