Summer's aflutter!

Native gardens attract migrating monarchs to Boeing sites

June 20, 2019 in Environment, Community

Similar to birds, monarchs are the only butterfly known to make two-way migrations depending on climate. In the summer, monarchs traveling north may roost at these Boeing pollinator gardens before heading south when it gets cold.


National Pollinator Week, June 17 – 21, celebrates the time of year when some of Boeing’s North American sites are aflutter with pollinator species like bees, birds, and bugs. Among these, the monarch butterfly is a species that migrates depending on climate, similar to birds.

Over the past decade, Boeing has incorporated pollinators into remediation efforts at sites including Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Southern California and the former Chemical Commodities, Inc. site, now known as home of the Olathe Pollinator Prairie near Kansas City, KS. In 2013, the Pollinator Prairie received certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council and recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency as an educational and recreational resource for the community.

Employees are jumping on the butterfly bandwagon by leading projects to increase pollinator habitats on Boeing campuses. At Boeing’s Oklahoma City site last fall, the Boeing Employees Outdoor Adventure Club (BOAC) installed a native plant garden aimed at attracting bees and monarch butterflies. Since then, the group has partnered with the Oklahoma City Zoo to use the zoo’s nutrient-rich compost, also known as OKC ZooPoo, to provide a welcome habitat for migrating monarchs and other species.

In 2018, Boeing employees, along with community partners, started a pollinator garden in Everett, WA. Even though the planting is new, birds and bugs could visit the area this summer.

Program engineer Shawn Hughes shares the scoop about pollinator gardens in at Boeing OKC.