Here in Ogunquit we have a bee, butterfly and bird garden, a gift to the town, on the Marginal Way. The idea is that this garden, planted with sweet fern, butterfly weed and cone flowers among other plants, will attract these insects and birds, a noble plan.
However, are pesticides – organic, given Ogunquit’s chemical pesticide ordinance – used on this garden? Probably the surrounding properties, homes on the Marginal Way, and a sweeping lawn behind this garden, use pesticides to maintain their green lawns and flower gardens.
But a pesticide is a pesticide, chemical or organic – the purpose of both is to kill or disrupt the growth of insects – including those that this butterfly garden is designed to attract, and if there are no insects, there will be no birds.
Are there enough plants along the Marginal Way pesticide free to create a pesticide free ‘belt?’ Does this narrow corridor of town land along the edges of the Marginal Way provide enough pesticide free plants for bees, birds and butterflies to find food?
We walk the Marginal Way almost daily and have yet to see butterflies on this bee, butterfly, and bird garden. We saw just one butterfly on a milkweed plant some yards south of the garden. Hopefully there is a contiguous pesticide free narrow green belt lining the Marginal Way.
But is the butterfly garden pesticide free? That is the question. The larger question is that if you are going to have a pesticide free zone, don’t you have to guarantee a continuous ‘pesticide free belt,’ as well for our songbirds’, like the ‘green belts’ in many of our cities for our songbirds?
Let us start creating not just green belts in our towns and communities, but pesticide free green belts to ensure the survival of our native songbirds.