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More than half of the world’s population live in cities. Increasing numbers of generations are now born and raised in urban landscapes with decreasing opportunities towards interacting with natural environments. This extinction of experience leads to environmental apathy and lack of bioliteracy, which is a central aspect to be tackled in conservation strategies. At the same time, people who live near or at non-urban settings are closer to natural habitats but do not have similar access to concepts of environmentalism and may lack incentives to lean towards nature conservation, instead of its exploitation or even illegal activities. We here propose that interaction gardens, that is, gardens with multiple trophic levels (primary producers, herbivores, predators, and parasitoids), can tackle these issues, especially if planned with incentives, such as butterfly catalogues, aimed as a common goal of the garden community. It can also bring benefits to human health and well-being, increase the survival chances of local biodiversity, and strengthen the front line of conservation by promoting income strategies to people who live near protected areas. Our specific aims are to 1) share a case study of capacity development at the Intervales State Park in the Atlantic Forest, Southeast Brazil; 2) present the butterfly catalogue of this protected area; 3) present guidelines for interaction gardens at both urban and non-urban settings; and 4) discuss alternative perspectives about Neotropical conservation. We provide a translated version of the text in Portuguese to encourage students, educators, NGOs and local communities of other protected areas to venture in our proposed joint strategy of interaction gardens with butterfly catalogues.