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Garden clubs work to get Michigan a state butterfly

Krystle Wagner • Jul 23, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Garden clubs are working to have the black swallowtail recognized as the Michigan’s official butterfly.

Currently three states — Michigan, Iowa and Indiana — don’t have state butterflies, said Monica Taylor, District IV director of Michigan Garden Clubs Inc. Senate Bill 298 would change that for Michigan.

Taylor said their efforts to have the butterfly recognized are aimed at raising awareness about the decline of pollinators and to support pollinators.

Michigan Garden Clubs selected the black swallowtail butterfly for several reasons, Taylor said. It’s a full-time resident in Michigan; it’s around the entire state; and they live in natural and flowering areas, which makes them more visible.

Tri-Cities Garden Club President Kate Przybytek said she supports the efforts to have the black swallowtail butterfly recognized, but they haven’t yet been successful in their efforts.

Taylor, who is a member of the local garden club, said Senate Bill 298 is the second piece of legislation introduced in the butterfly effort. She said the last one died in committee.

In addition to reaching out to local state lawmakers to show their support for the bill, Taylor said people can also plant host plants for the black swallowtail butterfly. Host plants include dill, parsley, carrots, Queen Anne’s lace and fennel. Nectar plants include butterfly weed, coneflowers, petunias, common milkweed, zinnias, verbena, phlox, heliotrope and Joe-pye weed.

“As gardeners, we can all do a little bit to help the pollinators,” Taylor said.

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