Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion Announces Pollinator District, a New Model for Conservation

Westminster, Colo. – June 20, 2019 – Pollinators such as honey bees, native bees and butterflies are vital to the human production of food and the reproduction of native plants. Over the past few decades habitat destruction, chemical pollution, parasites and pathogens have significantly decreased their numbers. In response to these challenges, Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion announced today that it is creating Pollinator Districts, communities designed to conserve and improve habitat for pollinators in all aspects of development and operation. Pollinator Districts engage all the people that live, work and play in these spaces, encouraging them to experience nature and build a greater appreciation for these critical species and their habitats.


“Protecting pollinators helps achieve multiple conservation goals: encouraging the protection of public green spaces, highlighting urban and rural interdependence, promoting the use of native plants in residential landscaping, and advancing environmental education at schools, communities and with the general public,” said Patrick Tennyson, president and CEO of Butterfly Pavilion. “Butterfly Pavilion is uniquely positioned to leverage our expertise on pollinators to change the way people think about our communities and how we can protect these incredibly important creatures!”


The first community set to become a Pollinator District is Baseline, a new mixed-use community at the junction of I-25, 470 and Baseline Road in Broomfield, Colo. McWHINNEY, a Colorado-based development and investment firm is designing Baseline to also include a dining district, a center for businesses, a science campus, and a new standard for residential living.


“We see the Pollinator District creating a healthy, vibrant community where residents want to spend their free time, are deeply invested and therefore more willing to contribute to it,” said Kyle Harris, general manager of the Baseline development for McWHINNEY. “This is a completely new approach to real estate development in Colorado.”


In the Pollinator District, enhancements are integrated into engineered green spaces such as rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs, public common areas and residential development. Elements of Pollinator District include:

  • Research - Establishing a baseline of pollinator diversity and understanding challenges in the area of interest.
  • Habitat restoration - Restoring open spaces with native shrubs and wildflowers to provide nutrition for pollinators.
  • Habitat gardening - Building gardens that more closely resemble natural habitat, including a variety of native flowering plants and shrubs, open ground and a passive water source. 
  • Beekeeping - Providing aspiring beekeepers in the community with training on how to keep bees through sustainable techniques.
  • Public education and engagement - Educating diverse audiences on pollinator conservation topics through volunteer opportunities, workshops, classes, public events and more. 
  • Sustainability - Prioritizing sustainable design, construction and maintenance practices that conserve water and soil and preserve native plant communities whenever possible.


Flower-rich pollinator landscapes support greater biodiversity, supporting not only pollinators, but other beneficial insects, birds and small mammals. “After development we’ll actually see more biodiversity,” Tennyson said. “It usually doesn’t work that way!”


Establishing the Pollinator District is a key step on Butterfly Pavilion’s journey to creating the Center for Invertebrate Research and Conservation (CIRC). In 2017, Butterfly Pavilion announced its plans for a new $45 million state-of-the-art facility located in Broomfield, Colorado for this new research center. CIRC will be an 81,000-square-foot, world-class research lab with an accredited zoological facility to serve as the preeminent local, national and global hub for invertebrate knowledge, conservation, inspiration and connection.


Pollinator Districts are part of Butterfly Pavilion’s PACE initiative, a global effort to increase awareness of pollinators and promote habitat and species conservation and restoration. PACE is made possible through a partnership with Local Hive by Rice’s Honey, a leading producer of high quality, U.S. only raw and unfiltered honey, headquartered in Greeley, Colorado. A portion of proceeds from every bottle of Local Hive sold is donated to PACE to protect pollinators worldwide.


Learn more about Butterfly Pavilion’s permanent exhibits, important education, research and conservation work at or by calling 303-469-5441. Butterfly Pavilion is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 6252 West 104th Avenue in Westminster, Colo.


About Butterfly Pavilion:

Butterfly Pavilion is the world’s only stand-alone, Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited invertebrate zoo dedicated to transforming the way people think about the small but mighty animals that are the hidden heroes of the animal kingdom. As the leader in invertebrate knowledge, inspiration and connection, and as a member institution of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, Butterfly Pavilion works to foster an appreciation of these critical animals by educating the public about the need to protect and care for threatened habitats globally, while conducting research for solutions in invertebrate conservation. Whether it is providing unique, hands-on learning experiences in our exhibits and educational programs, conducting new research that sets the standard for zoos across the country or building innovative solutions for species and habitat conservation in countries around the world, Butterfly Pavilion is leading the way in ensuring invertebrates are protected for the future. Learn more at

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