Building a Legacy on the Wings of Butterflies

Over the summer, a small group of volunteers came together at Brickyard Creek to plant a Monarch Waystation; what they ended up planting was an environmental legacy.

Monarchs are not able to survive the cold winters of most of the United States, so the butterflies migrate south and west each autumn to escape the cold weather. Some of us Brickyard Creek residents can relate to that!

Garden trowel and books on the ground

Unfortunately, a loss of habitat throughout the migration routes threatens this natural wonder. Milkweed and nectar sources are declining due to the development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures, and roadsides. It is estimated that 90% of all milkweed/monarch habitats occur within the agricultural landscape, so farm practices have a substantial influence on monarch populations.

Without a major effort to restore milkweed, the monarch population will decline to extremely low levels. People are coming together to help monarchs by creating “Monarch Waystations” (monarch habitats) in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, nature centers, along roadsides, and on other unused plots of land to help offset the loss of milkweed and nectar sources.

Over the summer, the Forest and Watershed Committee coordinated a collective of Boreal Forest Citizens to help plant a Monarch Waystation in the Brickyard Creek clearing.

People working in the butterfly garden

What happened next was inspiring.

Committee members Jeffery Garrett and Dale Klubertanz invited our girls to help plant a few trees. As they worked together, they explained the importance of the particular type of trees and why a Boreal Forest is so special. I watched the light in the girls’ eyes as they listened intently.

People working in the butterfly garden 2

Rachel Carson once said, “If a child is to keep alive an inborn sense of wonder … she needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with her the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”

Rachel Carlson Quote

A warm sense of gratitude filled my chest. Here at Brickyard Creek, we are surrounded by an entire community (including these two generous men) who embrace and share a sense of wonder.

The strong impact of the conversation and the planting experience was reiterated later in the week when one of the girls proudly named her sail boat The Aspen. (A quick note, we had a great learning experience with the community-based organization North Coast Sailing. Click here to learn about their family lessons, open sailing and more.)

Small sailboat on the shore of Lake Superior

In the Brickyard Creek Vision Statement, we declare:

This community is committed to maintaining this unique environment, promoting responsible educated citizens, sustaining a network of partnerships (with the broader community) and creating a legacy of responsible stewardship for all who share in the experience we call Brickyard Creek.

I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to walk the Aldo Leopold trail on the grounds. Leopold once mused in lecture notes, “There must be some force behind conservation.”

Bridge on the Aldo Leopold Trail in Brickyard Creek

He continued, “The force must be more universal than profit, less awkward than government, less ephemeral than sport, something that reaches into all times and places … I can see only one such force: a respect for land as an organism; a voluntary decency in land-use exercised by citizens out of a sense of love and obligation.”

It was an honor to watch Jeff and Dale grow a sense of love and obligation for the environment in our two girls. Together they’ve sent a legacy of responsible stewardship out into the world.

Small sailboat sailing on Lake Superior
Two children standing by a Brickyard Creek sign

PS: A big thank you to our canine volunteer Hattie, who kept our spirits high despite the heat and handed out Snoopy-kisses to all who wanted them.

People working with Hattie the dog in the Butterfly Garden

Project Update

Spring migration is officially underway! Mass monarch departure from Mexico occurred mid-March and arrivals were reported across Texas and beyond.

We are honored to host the “Rachel Carson Waystation” here at Brickyard Creek. Property Manager, Jeffery Garrett, had our community’s butterfly habitat officially certified through Monarch Watch. We look forward to watching it bloom this spring and bring moments of wonder for years to come.

Rachel Carson Quote - Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth, are never alone or weary of life.

This photo collection is being shared with you by Boreal Forest Citizen and Brickyard Creek community member, Zina Harrington. You might find Zina and her husband (Shad) with their two girls skipping rocks at the beach, roaming the community trails in Wellies or eating pot pies at The Fat Radish in downtown Bayfield.

This project was coordinated by the Forest and Watershed Committee. Brickyard Creek is a special place to each one of us. Members of this important committee have a multiple role and responsibility – to preserve, restore and enhance the common grounds of the BYC Community. As an association, we have collectively committed to become environmental stewards and practice a philosophy of enhancing and sustaining the uniqueness of this special place. The Forest and Watershed Committee continually strives to be the foundation for stewardship here at BYC and in partnership with the larger community of Bayfield. Big thanks to all of our Forest and Watershed Committee members and volunteers!


Write for the Boreal Forest Citizen

The BYC Vision Committee invites you to Check Your Pulse, consider these guiding questions, and share your responses with your neighbors on our BYC Community website.

  • What makes Brickyard Creek special?
  • What is the draw?
  • What is the hold?
Boreal Forest Citizen Logo

Do you need some inspiration? View the work shared by other community members found in the BYC Library.

If you are willing to share your responses to these original guiding questions with your neighbors, please send them to the BYC Manager, Jeffery Garrett for posting here on our BYC Community website.