Liz Helfer Studios

The Beneficials project seeks to raise awareness of the insects that bring our food to our tables and beauty to our eyes. In 2015, the White House announced a new initiative: a designated “butterfly highway” from Mexico to Minnesota. Following I­-35, this highway will consist of protected habitat for monarch butterflies, who make their 2000 mile migratory journey along this route twice each year. A similar idea was pushed in Oslo, Norway, that same summer, sparking the transformation of city rooftops and open spaces into a safe “bee highway.” These initiatives address one aspect of the drastic and tragic decline in these pollinators’ populations in the last several years. How can we internalize what a world without these insects means? And how can we promote a healthier environment for these creatures and, therefore, for ourselves?

While cities and nations around the globe begin to address the problem of declining pollinator populations, it is important to address all the beneficials of the garden. The Beneficials Project seeks to address these environmental concerns by promoting awareness of local insect populations, by bringing their images into the public sphere. Included are the Monarch butterfly (danaus plexippus plexippus), the Karner Blue butterfly (lycaeides melissa samuelis), the Green Darner dragonfly (anax junius), and several species of the European Honey Bee (apis mellifera) and the Bumblebee (bombus).