Participants with balconies in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Rosemont, or Verdun will be selected, to help establish gardens on their balconies to attract Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. The pilot study will run from May to October 2024.
Selected participants will
Urban nature is increasingly recognised for its benefits for physical and mental health of city residents. However, the built environment poses many challenges for biodiversity, particularly sensitive species like Monarchs such as insufficient resources and habitat, pollution affecting habitat quality, and barriers that limit movement across urban landscapes.
Studies have already found that small green spaces in cities such as backyards can be important for supporting urban biodiversity by creating a combined network of backyards and small green patches. Balconies are common privately-owned spaces in cities, where residents can take urban greening and biodiversity conservation into their own hands, yet little is known about their capacity to support biodiversity and provide connectivity. We would therefore like to explore if a combined effort of green balconies can benefit biodiversity, whilst also increasing access to urban nature.
Monarch butterflies are famous for their 4800 kilometer-long migration routes. A study in Western United states has found that despite the decreasing trend in wild Monarch populations, resident urban Monarch populations are increasing. This suggests urban environments are critically important for Monarch conservation.
Successful greening projects to support biodiversity need to be targeted for specific species, with good knowledge of the species’ ecology. In the “Balconies for Butterflies” project for summer 2024, we hope to use Monarchs as a target species by attracting them to balconies using milkweed and other popular nectar plants. As they are a popular species and have been highly studied to understand their biology and behavior, we hope to build upon this knowledge and apply it to using balconies to support them. By uncovering the requirements for Monarch butterflies to lay their