…There is still much more for us to do, especially in our own backyards.
This spring dig under some of that useless lawn, remove some non-natives and put aside some room in your flower beds for some milkweed and native wildflower nectar sources. Many local garden centers now carry multiple species of milkweed which will work in the backyard. Some better garden centers are now even setting aside spaces for native wildflowers like Milkweeds Goldenrod, Joe-pye weed and NY Ironweed to name a few.
Unlike many environmental issues which at times can seem overwhelming, this is an issue we can do something about. We don’t need to write to our Congressman or the Governor and hope that something gets done. Just plant some milkweed and other native wildflowers that provide nectar and you’ve just made our environment a better place.
Together we can turn our local communities into environments that are welcoming to the Monarch butterfly and that will give a fighting chance to a creature that can sure use our help.
If you have any questions on milkweed or other native plants feel free to contact me at Greatauk4@gmail.com
I know this headline sounds more like the title of a fantasy novel than a project the federal United States government is implementing. But it’s real – a real 1500 mile project that will connect Minnesota with Texas with habitat areas for Monarch butterflies all the way down the middle of our country. That’s the path these butterflies take on their way to winter in fir forests outside of Mexico City, Mexico. It will run north-south along Route I-35, pretty much the entire vertical length of the United States.
The Christian Science Monitor explains the plan:
The Xerces Society has already been working with the Federal Highway Administration to develop best practices for roadside management, including incorporation of flowering plants and milkweed and adapting mowing schedules to migration patterns… but the president’s plan is much broader than that.
“The idea is to use it as this iconic pathway to work with schools, farmers, ranchers, and park districts to improve habitats for 50 to 100 miles on either side of the I-35 corridor,” Dr. Black says.
Butterflies can only drink liquids – they don’t eat solid food. So, fill a plate with fruit that’s going bad. Put it inside another plate filled with water so ants can’t get to it. Every day, make cuts through the seals that develop so the butterflies can access the juice.
Also put bright colored objects nearby. Butterflies see colors, especially red, purple, orange and yellow and are attracted by them.
For the larvae, “Plant some milkweed in your garden, and don’t pick off the caterpillars!”Inspiration Green tells us, and “Black Swallowtail larvae eat the leaves of dill, parsley, carrot, and fennel. Painted lady larvae eat thistle leaves.”
Pesticides are killing butterflies, but as most Monarch habitat occurs in agricultural environments, farmers and home gardeners can make a difference.