On Our Website Home Page: Important Pollinators




Blue Copper Butterfly:

Lycaena heteronea Boisduval, 1852

Family: Lycaenidae



The upper surface of the male is a bright blue, with darker veins; female a dull blue to dark brown with numerous small dark spots.  The underside of both sexes is white to yellow-white; hindwing varies from having many to few black spots.

Most males patrol near host plants for females, but some perch.  Females lay eggs singly on bracts under host leaves or umbels; eggs hatch the following spring.  Young caterpillars feed on the underside of leaves; older ones eat all parts of the leaf.


Their flight: May ~ August.

Their hosts: wild buckwheat and the adult food is nectar from flowers, including wild buckwheat.

Their habitat: brushy areas, open forest, mountain meadows, sagebrush; mostly at high elevations except for low elevations in central California.

Their range: British Columbia south and east through southcentral California, northern Arizona, and northern New Mexico.


The Blue Copper Butterfly has The Nature Conservancy Global Rank of G5 - though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.  Varied Copper (subspecies clara) of southern California has been evaluated for conservation, and has The Nature Conservancy rank of T2 - Imperiled because of its rarity or because of other factors demonstrably making it very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range.



(photo by garden club member Lori Hightower)



Monarch Milkweed Butterfly:

(Danaus plexippus)



Other common monarch names depending on the region include Common Tiger,

Wanderer and Black-veined Brown. The monarch may be the most familiar North American butterfly, and is considered an iconic pollinator species. Its wings feature

black, orange, and white patterns with a wing span of approximately 3.5 to 4 inches. During the fall migration, monarchs cover thousands of miles, with a corresponding multi-generational return north.


The Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper is a new website that, along with an associated app called Monarch SOS, allows users to upload their monarch sighting to its portal and interactive map. Once uploaded, scientists and researchers can use this information to learn more about monarch and milkweed biology and conservation. It is funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is in collaboration between the Xerces Society, the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game and the Washington Dept. of Fish and Game.


What can you do?

the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation asks gardeners and citizens in general, to report monarch and milkweed observations across 11 western states.

For additional information contact Xerces Society below:




Our Bee Pollinators Are Very Important!




Native California Honey Bee:

(Savasta obliqua expurgata)



Pollinators are responsible for assisting over 80% of the world's flowering plants.  Without them, humans and wildlife wouldn't have much to eat or see!  Animals that assist plants in their reproduction as pollinators include species of ants, bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies, moths, wasps, as well as other unusual animals.  Wind and water also play a role in the pollination of many plants.


Virtually all of the world's seed plants need to be pollinated.  This is just as true for cone-bearing plants, such as pine trees, as for the more colorful and familiar flowering plants.  Pollen looking like insignificant yellow dust, bears a plant's male sex cells and is a vital link in the reproductive cycle.


With adequate pollination, wildfowers:

*Reproduce and produce enough seeds for dispersal and propagation

*Maintain genetic diversity within a population

*Develop adequate fruits to entice seed dispersers


(information: The U.S. Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture)




How Can You Help Our Pollinators?


  *Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to

    provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing


  *Plant in clumps, rather than single plants, to better attract


  *Whenever possible, choose native plants.  Native plants will

    attract more native pollinators and can serve as larval host

    plants for some species of pollinators. 

  *Check field guides to find out which plants the larval stage

    of local butterflies eat.

  *Pollinator friendly plants for your area can be found in NAPPC's

    Ecoregional Planting Guides.  Contact your local or state native

    plant society for help.

  *Avoid using pesticides in your garden.




Stop Ocean Pollution:



Americans use approximately 500 million straws per day! Imagine... half a billion straws laid end to end would circle earth 2.5 times. Half a billion straws would fill 126 school buses each day.


Many of these straws eventually find their way into our landfills and oceans, choking seasbirds and digested by marine life.  They are polluting our planet with non-biodegradable waste that breaks down very slowly.


Take a stand by requesting straw-free beverages and asking restaurants to consider offering straws on request.  Glass straws are an alternative and can be purchased at our local Eco Carmel shop located on San Carlos between 6th and Ocean Ave.


*Paper straws like Aardvark made in the U.S. or bamboo straws are another alternative.


As our society advances, we need to constantly reassess how people affect our changing environment.  A simple change such as eliminating plastic straws is another way we can work to save our planet.



Balloons Impact Our Wildlife And Oceans:





Marine species such as dolphins, whales and turtles along with many land animals have been killed or injured by balloons.  Their digestive tract becomes blocked, leaving them unable to absorb nutrients.  They can also become entangled in the decorative ribbons attached to these balloons.


Balloons can take many years to decompose.  Even balloons called "biodegradable" take time to break down which allows our wildlife to mistake

them as food or become caught in the debris left behind.


There are states who have enacted laws regarding the release of balloons.

Not everyone has taken this important iniative.  Please encourage your public leaders and state officials to make this a priority.  We are hopeful all of the United States and countries abroad will become informed and educated regarding this unfortunate issue.







Plastic pieces smaller than five millimeters are referred to as microplastic.

Glitter, as much as we love using it to decorate art projects, comes with an unfortunate consequence. Microplastics such as glitter are a part of this category. They can become a threat to ocean wildlife. These attractive little pieces of plastic break down and can be ingested by wildlife and in turn, passed along the food chain.




Plastic Bottles Are A Major Problem:


Plastic Bottles gathered in one year by one person

on Pt. Reyes National Seashore. 

(Photo by garden club member Susan Osborne)


Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup tells us

10 Things You Can Do To Stop Marine Debris’.

1. Join Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

2. Clean up your trash. Throw all trash away in proper receptacles, even when you’re not on the water. Pick up any debris you see while out.

3. Collect your monofilament fishing line. Don’t leave fishing line behind and retrieve any other line you may find while fishing, but be careful not to tug on snagged lines, which could be caught on habitat below the surface.

4. Contain and properly clean spills when boating. Use oil-absorbent rags and materials to clean spills. Check Ocean Conservancy’s, "Good Mate" manual for helpful tips on reducing your negative impacts on the water.

5. Recycle used motor oil and oil filters. Local gas stations should have appropriate facilities for recycling these materials. NEVER pour oil, paint, antifreeze or other household chemicals into an open sewer or down a storm drain.

6. Consider organic alternatives to household detergents and cleaners. Use lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda for household cleaning. Avoid using fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and harsh chemical cleaners that can wash into waterways.

7. Choose reusable items and use fewer disposable ones. Use fewer disposable bags when shopping or bring your own reusable ones.

8. Properly dispose of used batteries and electronics. Use your local recycling center. Don’t dump them in landfills. Electronics leach harmful chemicals into the environment that take a long time to disperse.

9. Keep streets, sidewalks, parking lots and storm drains clear of trash and debris – they empty into our ocean.

10. Contact your elected representatives and let them know you care about marine debris – and that they should, too. Vote for candidates who support marine debris prevention and policies that protect our environment.


General Information on Marine Debris:

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): Marine Debris Program: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/welcome.html


Scripps Oceanography: SEAPLEX (Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition/ Seeking the Science of the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch):  http://seaplexscience.com/ and http://sio.ucsd.edu/Expeditions/Seaplex/


Plastic Pollution/Coastal Care: http://coastalcare.org/2009/11/plastic-pollution


The Marine Mammal Center: www.marinemammalcenter.org (and www.marinemammalcenter.org/patients/success-stories/cujo.html)


Information about the Monterey Bay Sanctuary:

National Marine Sanctuaries and Monterey Bay: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/condition/mbnms/pressures.html


Plastic Pollution Information from the Monterey Bay Aquarium:



How Long Does it Take for Trash in the Ocean to Decompose? http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/Get-Involved/awareness-campaigns/stop-trashing-our-oceans.html