Black swallowtail in Toronto © Sarah Pietrkiewicz
What is Project Swallowtail?
Project Swallowtail is a collaborative effort to connect communities street by street and empower residents to restore nature in west Toronto. This pilot project will also be used to develop a framework for replication in neighbourhoods across Canada.
Giant swallowtail butterfly feeding on swamp milkweed © Shutterstock / Kevin Collison
Why is this important?
In human-dominated landscapes across Canada and the world, many wildlife species are in decline or at risk of extinction because of habitat loss. The best way to reverse this is through ecological restoration — the recovery of degraded ecosystems; a process typically done in non-urban settings. The most basic principle of ecological restoration is to plant native plants. This strategy is also a nature-based solution for climate: it draws carbon out of the atmosphere and makes our landscape more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Project Swallowtail will show how citizens, eNGOs and government agencies can work together to restore ecosystems in the city. Ultimately, this will bring communities together to fight the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.
Zebra swallowtail butterfly on a pink wildflower © Shutterstock / David Byron Keener
Where is the project area and why was this area chosen?
Project area outlined in blue. Municipal parks are shown in green. Project Swallowtail participants will connect these green spaces by planting native plants in front and back yards, balconies, rooftops, condo grounds, boulevards, community and faith centers and more.
Map Data © Google 2020.
This location, part of west Toronto, was chosen as the pilot project area for two reasons:
1. Ecological connectivity is at the core of our strategy. We chose neighbourhoods directly adjacent to High Park so that they can connect to habitat already available in the park.
2. Connecting the parks from Christie Pits to Lake Ontario creates a downtown habitat corridor.
Eastern tiger swallowtail on purple coneflower © Suzy Bazely