The Vacaresti Natural Park Association and the Globalworth Foundation are launching the “Butterfly Trail”, a new visiting route in the Vacaresti Natural Park, part of the education and public awareness project on the importance of butterflies and other urban pollinators.
The new thematic route promotes urban nature and the ecosystem services provided by the Vacaresti Natural Park for around 30,000 annual visitors.
The nearly one-kilometer-long route was enhanced by cleaning, ecological reconstruction and vegetation restoration, including the installation of notice boards and signage as well as insect shelters or hotels for pollinators.
The project will also be used to promote the educational role of the protected area, showcasing its potential of preserving biodiversity. The park may even become a “living school” with regard to the importance of butterflies in the current ecosystems, being at the same time a veritable pool of pollinators for other green areas in the city.
Butterflies are delicate, beautiful creatures, with complex fascinating lives. Easily noticed by children and loved by all, they are the perfect ambassadors for the urban biodiversity surrounding us. Therefore, spending a few hours enjoying the butterflies in their natural habitat works wonders for our physical and mental health. The “Butterfly Trail” project aims to warn against the decline of butterflies all around the world and to promote the idea that their survival as well as the state of the environment on which we, humans, also depend, are in our hands. Taking small steps to help endangered pollinator species will eventually prove beneficial to us all”, says Vlad Cioflec, biologist for the Vacaresti Natural Park Association.
The “Butterfly Trail” can give children the opportunity to understand why butterflies are indicators of environmental quality and to learn about the causes of the global decline of pollinators, about pollution or global warming and about the practical solutions available locally to limit habitat degradation or the effects of climate change. They will learn to build an insect hotel in their house or school yard and they will learn more about the crucial importance of wildflowers. And with a lot of patience and a little luck they may even discover a new species of butterflies for the Vacaresti Natural Park list.
Our blue-green infrastructure is the cities’ ecological infrastructure and is a priority looking at the cities of the future. This may be achieved first and foremost by the smart development of the existing ecosystems – with this idea in mind, we have created the “Butterfly Trail”. Here, visitors will be persuaded that the place of pollinators is among the flowers and that green spaces are highly valuable ecosystems that must be protected, not transformed. And they will be reminded how beneficial for the mind and body a few hours spent in the middle of nature” can be, added Alexandra Coviltir, Project Manager at Globalworth Foundation.
So far, the Vacaresti Natural Park Association specialists have identified over twenty species of butterflies in the park, and the association’s biologists and naturalists will present to the public their diversity, their complex life cycle and the ecosystem services provided, through escorted tours, workshops and information materials.