A group of central Texas municipal agents, including the City of Temple, the City of Belton, and the Village of Salado, in addition to local businesses and organizations in these communities, all came together to kickstart a collaborative, area-wide initiative to create habitat for the monarch butterfly. The primary goal of the project is to increase monarch butterfly habitat thereby reducing the threat of extinction of the species due to habitat destruction in Texas. The project’s secondary goals are to reduce mowing and energy consumption, beautification of open space and enhancement of pollinator habitat in communities along the I-35 migration corridor.
City of Temple, TX
A total of 4.5 acres of open fields in four city parks will be seeded with native monarch nectar plants as well as native milkweed after controlled burns in the fall. Each park slated for a pollinator field is located within 100 to 200 feet of a river or creek; greater native plant diversity and access to water sources and will improve and increase the abundance of habitat for many prairie-dependent native species. Additionally, developing the pollinator fields along trails will help increase trail use and create educational opportunities about pollinators for park visitors.
City of Belton, TX
The goal for this area was to provide natural habitat for a variety of different species, including bluebirds, butterflies, and native plants. Additionally, the project sought to give the citizens of Belton a safe way to walk through nature, access to the Nolan Creek for fishing and kayaking, or a peaceful area to enjoy an afternoon picnic. Nearly 4000 students from the nearby University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, residents of Chisholm Trail Senior Village and many of the nearly 20,000 citizens of the City of Belton could all enjoy the peace and tranquility of this restored natural area for relaxation and exercise, conveniently located within Belton city limits. The project area is 3 acres and includes a ¼ mile walking trail with picnic tables, wheelchair-accessible overlook with picnic area, and a kayak boat ramp for easy access to the Nolan Creek.
St. Francis Episcopal Church Wildscape – Temple, TX
The St. Francis Episcopal Church property in Belton has transformed 4 of their 11 acres into a native landscape, meditation garden, and accompanying labyrinth and chapel. Over the last five years, the church’s Wildscape Guild has held weekly meetings and workdays to create and maintain the grounds, which include a monarch waystation and pollinator plantings in addition to gardens inspired by Biblical teachings. The main goals for the space are: to provide the community a beautiful and peaceful place to enjoy and learn about native plants and wildlife, to protect the health of the watershed by promoting ecosystem services (i.e. erosion and run-off control), and to create functional habitat for native wildlife.
Village of Salado, TX
Flowing through the center of the central Texas village of Salado is the eponymous spring-fed Salado Creek. On the banks of this creek, the Salado Habitat Initiative has established a cooperative effort between the local park board of trustees and private property owners to designate, establish, and maintain habitat of native Texas plants with the goal of having a positive impact on the monarch butterfly population. Successful creation of pollinator habitat will not only contribute to meaningful conservation efforts, but will also enhance the aesthetic and educational experiences of visitors to the area as well as residents of the community.
Baylor Scott & White
Though the project is in its initial planning phases, Baylor Scott & White staff have identified areas on their Temple campus suitable for implementing pollinator habitat and a walking track. Additionally, pollinator-friendly landscaping already exists in the healing gardens at SWMC-Temple and McLane Children’s Hospital. Eventually, Baylor Scott & White plans to collaborate with community partners such as Master Gardeners, Boy Scouts, Youth Clubs, local school districts and civic clubs to further their habitat restoration efforts on their campuses across central Texas.
Andrejs Eriks Avots-Avotins, MD, PhD
Dr. Avots-Avotins, a gastroenterologist at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple, Vice-President of Medical Affairs, Provider Engagement and Community Affairs, and private conservationist, began a landscaping renovation project at his personal residence in the fall of 2016 to make the property more pollinator-friendly. His goal is to create a beautiful, peaceful and relaxing environment for family, friends, and neighbors in this residential area of Temple. He plans to make the gardens an outdoor classroom for his grandchildren and their friends, educating them about pollinators and the environment necessary to support pollinators and sharing the beauty and importance of butterflies, pollinators and native plants.
Combined population of the partner cities. Project partners welcome increased tourism and environmental awareness in their communities as a result of their habitat restoration efforts.
Savings from reduced mowing regimes in planted pollinator fields at one project site.
Total acreage of proposed pollinator habitat across the Project area.
Gulf Coast, Texas
Central Texas, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Fort Worth, TX