Friday, March 18, 2011

Wildlife Moves Me! - LET'S MOVE Butterflies to the White House Garden

Wildlife Moves Me!  

The idea for this  post sprouted from many fertile seeds:

1) Mrs. Obama recently replanted the White House Garden for 2011. The White House garden is a part of Mrs. Obama’s "Let’s Move!" campaign to get kids outdoors to help combat childhood obesity.

2) March 14th – 20th is National Wildlife Week - a week designated by the National Wildlife Federation to teach kids about wildlife.

3) Sunday, March 20th, is the first Day of Spring

4) My fellow garden blogger Jan Huston Doble is running a campaign called the Gardener's Sustainable Living Project to encourage people to post what they are doing for Earth Day, which is April 22.

5) Marc Daniels is encouraging kids to email the president about a White House Peace Seed Planting to help Weed Out Hate

6) America's Great Outdoors Campaign , an effort of the Council on Environmental Quality, is looking for ideas to get kids to interact with and appreciate nature

7) The Children and Nature Network is kicking off their Let's G.O. Campaign in the month of April, to get more kids to Go Outside!

8) I believe that butterflies can help save the planet.

That's right. I said butterflies.

So I decided to create my own post called Wildlife Moves Me to help combine all of these efforts.

I believe that encouraging kids to create an eco-friendly garden to attract wildlife is one of the simplest and, by far, the most fun way to inspire them to take care of the environment. It is also an excellent way to combine the efforts of many organizations into one goal:  getting kids outside to move them, inspire them, educate them and encourage them to protect the planet.

There is just something magical about the process of learning how easy it is to attract such small, beautiful wonders as the iridescent hummingbird or how awe-inspiring it is to watch the transformation of caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly and to know that the steps that you took are what brought those wondrous creatures to your yard.

I think that the process is so transforming, that I would  LOVE to see Mrs. Obama create a special garden at the White House to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and hummingbirds. It would be a great way to get kids outside in nature and help to educate and inspire our next generation of environmental stewards.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend to get your kids outside in nature, why not help them to create their own wildlife or butterfly garden? The change it will bring to your children, your life and your landscape will be magical!

The lessons one can learn and teach in a wildlife friendly landscape are too numerous to list, but here are just a few:

1) Taking care of the planet begins in our own backyards. Everything we do in our yards affects the rest of the planet. The benefits of conserving water and being aware of stormwater runoff are two of the easiest lessons to teach.

2) Gardens can feed people and wildlife too! Choose plants to  provide food sources for local wildlife. Adding parsley and dill to the White House Gardens will attract some beautiful butterflies!

3)  Eliminating chemicals in your organic garden is good for the food and for the local wildlife.

4) Some insects and garden creatures, such as worms and ladybugs, are very good in the garden

5) Counting birds and other species can help citizens  make important discoveries to help scientists

Here are some previous posts to help you get started on your wildlife-friendly garden.

10 Tips for Creating a Wildlife Friendly Landscape

Gardening for Hummingbirds

Plants to Attract Hummingbirds

Create a Butterfly Garden, Easy as 1-2-3


  1. I, too, thought it would be great if Mrs. Obama incorporated nature-friendliness into her gardening project. When word first came out about her efforts, I mailed a copy of The Nature-friendly Garden to the White House. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that she ever saw it as I never even received a form letter in response. It was very disappointing, in many ways.

  2. I sent them a copy of a book on Gardening for Wildlife at one time and I did received a thank you card. Maybe you should send them a copy of your book.

  3. I did send my book. I never heard anything so I don't know what happened.

    If you sent Gardening for Wildlife, was there any indication in the reply you received that people at The White House were interested?

  4. I just got a generic thank you card in the mail. It says" We would like to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation for your generous gift." and then a few other generic comments. But it was nice. I like having a thank you card from the White House.

  5. Butterflies are such beautiful, magical creatures, and a garden that is healthy for butterflies is healthy for us all. It's so important to reach the children, and your idea is a wonderful way of doing that.

  6. All of these links were fascinating…I'm glad to see so many activities focusing on nature and her importance in our lives! Thanks for linking to my project, Betsy. I hope more people will think about ways they can help the earth–there are so many competing things working against her! I love butterflies and garden to attract wildlife & love it when I find eggs and cats on my plants! It's truly a gift to see them! I like your idea of adding a wildlife garden to the veggie garden plans at the White House;-)

  7. I, too, was one of the kids that no one wanted to swap lunches with. Sodas and fast food were not staples in my house growing up. And I had friends who would drink a Coke for breakfast! I am inspired by your story, that one day when I have children, I can share with them the bounty from my vegetable garden.


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