Introducing the Pollinator Highways

September 29, 2021
Anthony Merante

          Ontario's 400+ species of native bees, 100+ butterflies, and hummingbirds have faced population declines with the overdevelopment of Southern Ontario. As cities grew, pollinator habitat was lost to concrete buildings, crops, and roads. Landscapes changed from sprawling with diverse ecosystems made up of thousands of flowering plant species to manicured lawns and European style gardens that do not offer the nutrients needed for our native pollinators to survive. Pollinators are critical species that help ecosystems grow by pollinating flowering plants, allowing them to bear fruit and seeds that support forests, meadows, wetlands, and the wildlife that call these ecosystems home

At Earthroots, we believe protected species need protected spaces. Southern Ontario is highly developed with urban sprawl and agricultural, but we cannot overlook that it is also where hundreds of species at risk live. We need to find space for our species wherever possible. To help our pollinators like the Monarch butterfly, we propose creating long, continuous habitat made up of grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees growing along six iconic routes connecting the Golden Horseshoe to Central Ontario across the Greenbelt. These routes will make up the Pollinator Highways. Finally, a highway we can all get behind. Imagine roadsides filled with gorgeous blooms of violet, red, orange, yellow, and white from spring to fall. These vibrant, diverse corridors promote eco-tourism, support farmers, introduce green infrastructure, and increase Ontario's biodiversity.

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