Innisfil ideaLAB & Library Wins Prestigious Angus Mowat Award of Excellence

INNISFIL, ON (Feb. 9, 2023) On February 2nd, 2023, the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library was awarded the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence for its innovative and popular Monarch Butterfly Rearing Program. The Ontario Public Library Service Awards were presented at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference by Government of Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. CEO, Erin Scuccimarri, was on-hand to receive the award on behalf of the ideaLAB & Library presented by Laura Smith, Parliamentary Assistant to Neil Lumsden, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

The Angus Mowat Award of Excellence recognizes a commitment to excellence in the delivery of public library service; these services can be old or new and can be ongoing. The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library began a Monarch Butterfly Rearing Program in 2019, after planting pollinator gardens at its Cookstown and Lakeshore branches. Both gardens are registered as official Monarch Waystations. The response from the public was overwhelming, and reinforced the need for hands-on engagement around nature and conservation issues.

“We have always been a Library that brings something unique and unexpected to our community” said Erin Scuccimarri, ideaLAB & Library CEO. “The monarch butterfly program has grown in the last three years, engaging people of all ages, encouraging scientific curiosity and inspiring our community to protect existing pollinator habitats.”

In recent years, many public libraries throughout Ontario have recognized their outdoor spaces as assets that can be used to engage the public with nature and science. The ideaLAB & Library has created a comprehensive training system including videos and a staff guide for other libraries interested in starting a similar program. In 2022, over 250 community members attended butterfly releases and over 1500 people participated in other learning opportunities related to the rearing program.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature declared monarch butterflies endangered in July 2022, which immediately created widespread interest in the species and the impacts of habitat loss, climate change, and pesticide use. To continue to engage residents in learning opportunities the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library will continue its monarch butterfly rearing program this spring and summer.

To learn more about the Library’s unique programs and experiences or about the pollinator gardens visit us online. For more information and for Library updates straight to your inbox, sign up for our eNewsletter today.