KiNZ Mission Heights wins award for creating butterfly habitat

KiNZ Mission Heights wins award for creating butterfly habitat

A new award for promoting biodiversity

KiNZ Mission Heights, an early childhood centre in Flat Bush, has received the inaugural Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust award for creating a butterfly habitat in its garden. The award was presented by the trust’s founder, Jacqui Knight, on August 25, 2023.

The award recognises the efforts of schools and early childhood centres to provide food and shelter for native moths and butterflies, which are important pollinators and indicators of environmental health. The trust aims to inspire and educate children about the diversity and beauty of these insects, as well as the threats they face from habitat loss, climate change, and predators.

How KiNZ Mission Heights created a butterfly haven

KiNZ Mission Heights started its butterfly project in 2022, with the help of a grant from the Daltons School Butterfly Habitat programme. The programme provides seeds, plants, compost, and gardening tools to schools and early childhood centres that want to create a butterfly-friendly garden.

The centre’s manager, Sarah Jones, said the children were involved in every step of the process, from planting the seeds to watering and weeding the garden. They also learned about the life cycle and behaviour of moths and butterflies, and how to identify different species. Some of the plants they grew include swan plants, which are the main food source for monarch caterpillars, and hebes, which attract copper butterflies.

KiNZ Mission Heights wins award for creating butterfly habitat

Jones said the garden has become a favourite spot for the children to play and observe nature. “They love seeing the butterflies flying around and landing on the flowers. They also get excited when they find caterpillars or chrysalises on the plants. They have developed a sense of wonder and curiosity about these amazing creatures,” she said.

The benefits of having a butterfly garden

According to Knight, having a butterfly garden can have many benefits for children’s learning and well-being. She said it can foster a connection with nature, enhance creativity and imagination, develop scientific skills and knowledge, and promote environmental awareness and stewardship.

She also said that butterflies can have a positive impact on people’s mood and mental health. “Butterflies are symbols of joy, hope, and transformation. They can lift our spirits and make us smile. They can also teach us valuable lessons about resilience, adaptation, and change,” she said.

Knight hopes that more schools and early childhood centres will follow the example of KiNZ Mission Heights and create their own butterfly habitats. She said the trust offers resources and advice to anyone who wants to start or improve their butterfly garden. She also encouraged people to join the trust’s citizen science projects, such as the Big Butterfly Count and the MothNet NZ survey.


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