Birds aren’t the only things with wings flying south for the winter. Cooler weather marks the time of year when monarch butterflies also pack their bags and head to Mexico. This year’s monarch migration was celebrated at Pollinator Prairie, a former chemical brokerage and recycling facility turned ecological habitat, where Olathe, Kan. community members and Boeing volunteers bid butterflies bye-bye at the annual “Hasta Luego, Monarchs” event.
Kathy Beaty, one of Boeing’s Restoration Rockstars, has supported a number of events at the Kansas City-area Pollinator Prairie. But this year is different than the others that Beaty has spent with “Hasta Luego, Monarchs” talking to participants about the importance of pollinators. This is the first year Beaty has worked as Program Manager for Boeing’s Olathe and Wichita remediation sites, as well as her 28-year anniversary with Boeing in Environment, Health & Safety.
“It means a lot to work for a company that shows care for the environment by improving entire communities,” said Beaty. “Because of successful partnerships, the people here see beauty they once saw as ugliness.” Together with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wildlife Habitat Council and community organizations, the Pollinator Prairie is a shining example of Boeing’s involvement in restoring a site by turning it into a thriving environment.
In addition to Beaty’s work at the Pollinator Prairie, she also oversees restoration efforts at the former Emery Landfill site in Wichita. According to Beaty, “The 80-acre former landfill now looks like a park with native grassland, a bluebird trail and plants that attract pollinators.” Pollinators, like butterflies and bees, are essential to the food cycle—“without them,” says Beaty, “we wouldn’t have fruits and vegetables.” Beaty also says she has seen the numbers of these important species increase, due to attracting them just by planting the native vegetation they eat.
Beaty’s efforts also impact the community through her volunteering at a local high school. Beaty regularly shares with AP environmental science classes about how Boeing has cleaned up decisions that were made in the past while cultivating students’ future interests in the environment. Beaty embraces the opportunity to make an impact. “I love how my job allows me to see how Boeing makes a difference every day, by inspiring those interested in future STEM careers as environmental scientists.”
So while Beaty and other Boeing employees in Kansas said, “Hasta Luego, Monarchs” this fall, remediation work ensures that these, and other, restored sites will welcome new critters each and every future spring.