Kerry Jarvis and Melitta Smole were the founders of Saugeen Shores Butterfly Gardens (SSGB) and their passion for the Monarch butterfly was instrumental in mobilizing volunteers and funds to establish a network of butterfly-friendly gardens along the Lake Huron shoreline to alleviate the decline that was being experienced in the Monarch population.
Their efforts have been so successful that the Monarch numbers have been increasing and a number of tagged Monarchs, through their work, have been recovered in the Mexico wintering grounds.
They have presented lectures, lead many workshops on butterfly gardening and given special attention to raising nature awareness in young people.
Jarvis is a naturalist, photographer, author, public speaker, gardener and traveler and his images have won awards. Smole works tirelessly with him and she has created presentations for children through the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre. She is a Board member of the Southampton Curling Club, a composer, guitarist and enjoys gardening, birding, kayaking, canoeing, biking skating and almost every other outdoor sport.
The couple is now moving on toward revamping their lives and are leaving for Nova Scotia where they will take up residence in the countryside near Lunenburg. “We drove down East last year where we volunteered at the annual Folk Festival and were completely smitten with the area,” says Smole. “We made many friends and want to immerse ourselves in the East Coast culture and music scene.”
Jarvis and Smole are, however, leaving the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores in “very capable hands”. Fourty volunteers have committed to carrying on the work of the Garden pods. “We have arranged for two years of financing and also seeds through Grange Hollow,” says Jarvis and Smole. “We know that our volunteers will carry on this valuable work.”