The Issue: Endangered Butterfly Species in Ohio
Purplish copper, regal fritillary, and swamp metalmark—their names are as expressive and vibrant as the colors on their wings, but each of these butterflies has a spot on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ endangered-species list. The Dawes Arboretum maintains a trail to help monitor local butterfly populations but aims to expand that effort into a public meadow to attract these three species in particular. The meadow will act as a habitat with a variety of native plants that support these species’ breeding habits, as well as nectar plants to feed all butterflies.
The Campaign: Planting a Meadow Habitat for Butterflies
If 30 people donate $10, then The Dawes Arboretum can plant 3,600 square feet of new meadow for a butterfly habitat. Staff members will plant native blooming plants in an abandoned farm field overrun with non-native weeds. Butterflies can use the resultant flowers to gather nectar and develop through their larval stages. The presence of butterflies will also support the ecosystem as a whole by providing a source of food for the local bird population and a way for the flowers to pollinate. Each additional $10 raised will fund another 120 square feet of new meadow.
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The Dawes Arboretum
Like a museum of living landscape paintings, The Dawes Arboretum combines the delicate beauties of a Japanese garden, a cypress swamp, and an azalea glen, creating a colorful haven of native plants. But this 1,800-acre wonderland wasn’t always so expansive. In 1929, when nature lovers Beman and Bertie Dawes first transformed their woodland property into an arboretum, it was just a 293-acre swath of Licking County. This stretch, with its rolling hills and mature trees, was so calm that it drew visitors from across the state and instilled a love of nature in the Dawes’ children.
Today, many of the arboretum’s more than 16,000 labeled trees and shrubs are representative of types native to central Ohio, such as the 17 Ohio buckeyes planted to form the number 17. Elsewhere, more than 100 bonsai trees adorn the courtyard by the visitors’ center. Along with plants, the grounds entice explorers with more than 12 miles of hiking trails and a 4-mile auto tour. Antiques and memorabilia from the 19th and 20th centuries adorn the Daweswood House Museum, and the Discovery Center enthralls youngsters with bird watching, crafts, and fun facts about honeybees and frogs.