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Overview of UBI

The Urban Butterfly Initiative is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community service organization that uses butterflies as ambassadors to nature, providing an approachable, fascinating, and beautiful link between people and the environment.


UBI provides expertise and guidance to public and private partners who seek to increase biodiversity, beauty, and scientific awareness in their communities. We encourage the modification of existing urban green spaces to create beautiful butterfly-friendly habitats, making them more ecologically functional, while also generating the benefits of urban beautification, tourism, education, and science. Our low-cost, low-maintenance butterfly landscapes beautify communities, increase biodiversity and conservation, create engagement and educational experiences, and provide scientific and research opportunities.


Although native plants are emphasized, our general design theme is not “wild-looking,” but instead we establish attractive, ecologically-sound landscapes that inspire visitors and integrate educational opportunities.

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The 3 Facets of UBI

Biodiversity & Conservation
Peck's Skipper & Goldenrod Soldier Beetle on Blue Mistflower

By increasing the amount of native habitat available to support populations of butterflies and other animals, UBI's Butterfly Landscape Development facet helps make our communities part of the solution for stemming the loss of local biodiversity and reversing the trend currently being experienced worldwide.

The success of our Butterfly Hotspots serves as a model of the feasibility and desirability of creating native habitat in lieu of the ubiquitous turfgrass planted and maintained in many communities. We hope the desire for similar Hotspots continues to grow as the benefits become increasingly apparent.

Peck's Skipper & Goldenrod Soldier Beetle on Blue Mistflower

Engagement & Education
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The pure joy of having a dragonfly land on your finger

Butterflies are beautiful, charismatic, and harmless creatures, making them a perfect 'gateway animal' to encourage people of all ages to be interested in, and care about, the natural world. And because their caterpillars feed on plants, butterflies offer a great model to demonstrate the importance of diverse food webs to a healthy, functioning ecosystem.


UBI's Nature Education & Outreach program encourages connection to nature using social media, presentations, butterfly walks, contests, and educational resources (such as our butterfly guide) to help community members increase their awareness and understanding of nature in general and butterflies in particular.

Science & Research
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Do the two color morphs of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails exhibit different behavior?

The Butterfly Hotspots created by UBI provide opportunities for scientific studies on butterfly populations as well as the role nature plays in the health and well-being of people and their communities.


Whenever possible, we involve community members in the collection of these data, an activity that helps connect people with nature while contributing valuable information to the understanding of natural butterfly populations and educating the public about the scientific process.

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