Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

A butterfly adoption program helps keep the Alouette River Management Society in Maple Ridge afloat

While most across B.C. were cocooned in their homes during the COVID shut downs, a few hundred local people took time to feed and nurture caterpillars as they metamorphosed in butterflies. And, in doing so, they also helped raise some needed money for a Maple Ridge environmental group.

A relatively new butterfly adoption program, hosted by the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS), translated to a big shot in the arm for the environmental stewardship organization that was forced – like many groups – to shut down operations early this spring as a direct result of the coronavirus.

Closing its centre and halting all its community-outreach programs – internally and those held out in the public – hit the bottom line for this organization pretty hard, according to executive director Greta Borick-Cunningham.

A large chunk of ARMS $150,000 annual operating budget typically comes from the spring education classes and camps. Shut downs meant a loss of at least $20,000 directly attributed to those programs alone, she explained.

Thankfully, Borick-Cunningham said, people’s love of butterflies has helped provide her group with a much needed infusion of cash. And she’s looking for a few other similar initiatives.

The butterfly adoption program, which started in 2019, was expanded this year. And thanks to the spread of word through social media it doubled last year’s participation of 100, and netted ARMS $6,100.

“Those additional funds were sort plowed back to make up some of the lost revenue from the spring education… It does make a big difference.”

All 200 of this year’s supporters had the chance to adopt a Painted Lady caterpillar larvae from ARMS, and due to the pandemic it was hand delivered to their front step.

The adoption program allowed folks – most of them children already self-isolating at home with their families – to watch and learn the lifecycle of a butterfly change right before their eyes.

RELATED: ARMS in Maple Ridge chooses new president

It is proving a popular and growing program, said Borick-Cunningham, who expects it will be repeated and expanded again next butterfly season – which usually last about six weeks between mid-April and the end of May.

The fundraising initiative is one part of their pollinating program, which also includes school visits, public beekeeping workshops, and participation in numerous community events hosted by other organizations.

This year, due to the virus, “that came to a grinding halt,” said Borick-Cunningham, who’s also missing the chance to get her organization and its education and advocacy efforts out in front of the community.

Nevertheless, she said she’s grateful for the extra money raised from the butterflies.

But she’s now casting about for other fundraising options for ARMS, given their new reality.

For instance, the group is looking at hosting a virtual salmon adoption this fall, or alternatively selling owl or chickadee houses in kit form that can be built at home as a family project.

“We have to be creative to help leverage the funds that we’ve lost,” she said, pointing to the annual June fundraising dinner as another example. That event usually sells out with about 100 people and brings in about $8,500. It had to be cancelled due to COVID-related restrictions on gatherings, but Borick-Cunningham said they’re considering hosting a virtual dinner this fall.

For more information about ARMS, people can visit their website.


• If there is more to this issue, please let us know about it. Email us at We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEnvironmentmaple ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

Just Posted

Elise Gouin (left), tech peer to Jocelyn McLean, in booth at CEED Centre Neighbourhood House. (Christian Cowley/Special to The News)
New seniors programs at Maple Ridge centre help isolated connect

The CEED Centre Society is offering two new seniors programs

Nobody will be turned away from the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministry in the next couple of days as temperatures are expected to dip below freezing. (THE NEWS/files)
Ridge Meadows Salvation Army calls for extreme weather response

Freezing temperatures forecast tonight and Friday, snow on the weekend

Madeline Merlo announced a new record deal with Broken Bow Record Music Group. (Facebook/Madeline Merlo)
Maple Ridge country artist signs record deal in Nashville

Madeline Merlo signed with Broken Bow Record Music Group

The Meadow Ridge Female Hockey Association has received a government grant to help weather the pandemic financially.
Ridge Meadows sports organizations given pandemic relief

Three associations approved for government grants

Tony Lam sent in this image of the community looking towards Golden Ears Mountain. (Tony Lam/Special to The News)
SHARE: Tranquil view of Golden Ears Mountain

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read