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New Butterfly Trail Begun

A couple years ago Dahlem joined the Michigan Butterfly Network and became a hub for collecting baseline data on native butterflies.  Thanks to the efforts of a small crew of volunteers, we’ve already submitted a couple years worth of data to the network.
Data collection is done during a specific time of year and along preset transects – it’s all very scientifically laid out.  The mission is to establish definitive information on Michigan’s butterfly populations so trends can be tracked as climate and habitats change.
As part of this initiative, we are putting in a Butterfly Trail over at the Ecology Farm!  This trail has been in the planning phase for a couple years; this winter and spring the trail was staked out and just last week it finally got its first trim.

The trail starts near the northeast corner of the Community Gardens and heads down toward the wet meadow and Sharp’s Creek.

Along the way it passed under some really impressive trees, some providing not only shade, but also some pretty neat tunnels.  Eventually it heads back toward the other end of the Community Gardens and the Apiary.  All told, it is about 0.4 miles long.

Our plans for this trail include interpretive signage that will educate visitors about our native butterflies:  what habitats they like, what foods are hosts for adults and larvae, and how everyone can contribute to butterfly conservation.

The trail will also be great for short walks for those who want to enjoy the scenery and other wildlife at the Ecology Farm.

Later on we will be seeding the grassy areas with native wildflowers and grasses, which will encourage not only our native butterflies, but also provide great pollen and nectar sources for native bees and the honey bees at our apiary.

The trail isn’t open yet – we still have some work to do, but keep your eyes and ears peeled for an announcement for when it does open.

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