Big businesses in Metro Detroit step in to help protect birds, bees and butterflies

Businesses join Local 4 initiative to protect big three pollinators

The National Heritage Motorcities Area has partnered with DTE, Ford and other businesses to help protect Michigan's pollinators

UTICA, Mich. – Local 4 has adopted a birds, bees and butterflies initiative to try to get people interested in saving pollinating insects that help create our food supply.

The community has grown quickly, and businesses are also joining in to protect the big three pollinators.

Many people are starting to realize Mother Nature needs help to survive. Some businesses have been driving the bandwagon long before many others jumped on.

At the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, the history of the auto pioneers is mixed with the pioneering spirit of saving the planet. Beehives, a butterfly house and a garden are there to attract "high-value pollinators" such as bees and butterflies.

"We also have our 87 acres, which really helps," said Emily Weiss, of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. "One major threat to our pollinators is habitat loss, so our large property does provide habitat for our butterflies and our bees, and even our bats."

If you're a big fan of the beneficial pollinators, your big three would be birds, bees and butterflies. But in the Metro Detroit area, where the behemoths of business run the global economy and opinion, DTE Energy is all about lights and lightning bugs.

"This is our bioswale," DTE biologist Kristen LaForce said. "It's all native Michigan plants, so it's great food for not only caterpillars, but adult butterflies as well."

With professional biologists on staff, the company is creating gardens and proactively looking for ways to create a natural footprint. Packing those efforts in an easy-to-find way is Motorcities National Heritage Area.

"We tell the story of how tinkerers became titans, about how labor and industry change manufacturing worldwide," said Shawn Pomaville-Size, of Motorcities National Heritage Area.

They are a part of the National Park Service, and they've created a pledge for businesses small and large to promise to look for ways to help the environment.

"We were surprised to find that many of our major industrial partners -- Ford Motor Co., DTE, General Motors -- were already doing some major things within their own corporations," said Brian Yopp, of Motorcities National Heritage Area. "We just sort of (solidified) that by having them sign the pledge that says no only locally in the Michigan area, but across their companies."

At Argent Tape & Label in Plymouth, saving pollinators was written into the master business plan this year. The company started with two beehives and has done what's necessary to become a registered monarch waystation, which means it will be tracking and tagging monarchs in the fall as they head to Mexico to complete their migration.

"I think this is really forward-thinking and I think that you have to have a real love of nature," said Lynn Perenic, of Argent Tape & Label. "Business is tough, and you really have to be able to run your business, but you have to have the vision to create something bigger than yourself."

The Pollinator Palooza event is scheduled for this weekend at the Ford House.

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.