St. Patrick students help open Canada's first municipal milkweed nursery

Students from St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School in Markham recently helped Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Council Members, and representatives from the David Suzuki Foundation officially open Canada's first municipal milkweed nursery at Milne Dam Conservation Park. The nursery will provide a habitat and vital food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars for years to come.

The nursery will grow seeds to plant more milkweed across Markham and be a home to support the monarch butterflies' annual return from Mexico. The milkweed is the only plant that monarch butterfly caterpillars eat from and is a critical plant to support the species' declining population. Butterflies, together with bees, birds, beetles, and other pollinating animals help to support up to 75 per cent of world's food crops. As pollinator and butterfly populations decrease, so does the production of much of our food.

"I am proud to report that the creation of this nursery is the first of its kind hosted and supported by a municipality in Canada," said Mayor Frank Scarpitti. "The City of Markham is creating habitat space and vital food source for monarch butterflies and other important pollinators to help them thrive."