Hell No, We Won’t Mow!

Last updated on November 18th, 2018 at 08:31 pm

"Hell No, We Won't Mow"
A monarch butterfly on it’s favorite source of food and habitat. Please join our “Hell No, We Won’t Mow” campaign and ask your local road crews if there are areas where mowing can be delayed until October. Photo by Elizabeth Howard, founder of Journey North.

7 Ways You Can Help Save Monarch Butterflies From Extinction

Frequent flyers on this blog are well schooled on the plight of the beautiful monarch butterfly.  Over the last couple decades the population has declined by over 90% leaving the monarch in imminent danger of extinction.  Once a billion butterflies strong, there are now only about 50 million and the need to conserve their habitat is urgent.  The good news is that, with your help and a little cooperation from Mother Nature, it may not be too late.  Here are 7 things you can do to help the monarch make an epic comeback in 2016-2017:

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont Woods Studios Raises Monarch Butterflies

Last updated on March 31st, 2017 at 02:48 pm

monarch butterflies
Can you spot all four caterpillars in this photo? These are just some of the little guys we’ve adopted this summer.

From barely noticeable caterpillar to one of nature’s most beautiful creatures.

Monarch Butterflies have long been a popular and famous insect. Their image is used everywhere from GMO free food labels to makeup ads. And, just a couple of months ago President Obama met with the Canadian Prime Minister and Mexican President to discuss how these three countries can save the monarch. With seven states including Vermont calling it their state insect, it’s a wonder how we’ve let the monarch butterfly population reach the endangered zone.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

3 Amigos & A Butterfly

Last updated on November 15th, 2016 at 08:22 pm

Save the Monarchs Tour

One of the monarchs we raised at Vermont Woods Studios last summer.
The monarch butterfly brought Jose Luis Alvarez, Francois Simard and me together in our efforts to help save it from extinction.

Can 3 World Leaders & 3 Small Businesses Save the Monarch Butterfly?

Last month President Obama met with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss climate change and how our three countries can save essential pollinators from extinction.  Independent of that meeting, another Mexican, a Canadian and an American were working on the same thing.  Jose Luis Alvarez, Francois Simard and I somehow connected because we all love nature and believe that small businesses can & should have a positive effect on the world around us.  The part of nature we’re focused on is the beautiful (and endangered) monarch butterfly.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Save The Monarchs Tour with Jose Luis Alvarez

Last updated on August 6th, 2020 at 12:45 pm

save the monarchs

Mark Your Calendars! We’re Bringing Monarch Habitat Expert Jose Luis Alvarez to the North East this Summer! Save The Monarchs Tour Sponsored by Vermont Woods Studios & DJ Agnew.

A few months ago, our Founder and CEO, Peggy Farabaugh, wrote a blog post about how our small Vermont furniture business is connected to a Monarch Butterfly habitat restoration organization in Mexico. Well, today Peggy and I are very excited to announce that the Save The Monarch Tour with Jose Luis Alvarez is happening this August and September.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

How To Plant Milkweed for Monarchs

Last updated on October 3rd, 2022 at 05:54 pm

This is part of a series of posts on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration Project.

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed
A monarch butterfly on it’s favorite source of food and habitat. Learn how to plant milkweed &  save the monarch from extinction.  Photo by Elizabeth Howard, founder of Journey North.

Calling all nature nuts and monarch butterfly enthusiasts!  You can help save the beautiful orange & black monarch butterfly from extinction.  It’s easy and you can do it no matter where you live, whether that’s a Manhattan apartment, a suburban ranch or an organic horse farm in Vermont.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Conserving Monarch Habitat: The Vermont – Mexico Connection

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 01:47 pm

Jose Luis Alvarez has devoted his life to conserving habitat for the Monarch butterfly
Jose Luis Alvarez has devoted his life to conserving monarch habitat in Mexico.  He’s traveling to Vermont this summer to help us conserve the butterfly’s habitat here in New England.

I’m super excited today because our friend Jose Luis Alvarez is coming to visit Vermont this fall to collaborate with us on a project to help save the Monarch butterfly.  Jose Luis is a silviculturist in Mexico who has devoted his life to restoring the forested winter habitat of the Monarch.  Last month I traveled to Michoacan, Mexico to meet Jose Luis & see his work. I love Monarchs & we’ve been conserving their summer habit here in Vermont for many years so I thought maybe we should collaborate and get some Vermont-Mexico synergy going!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Butterflies on the Brink

Last updated on January 26th, 2018 at 03:51 pm

Catastrophic storm in Michoacan devastates Monarch Butterfly Population
A freak spring storm just struck Michoacan, Mexico leaving a foot of snow & putting the future of the Monarch Butterfly in jeopardy. Can the species survive the snow and cold?  Photo courtesy of Homero Gomez Gonzalez, Chairman at the el Rosario Monarch Sanctuary.

You landed on the Vermont Furniture Blog and you may be wondering why it starts with an article about butterflies.  My previous post may help:  Top 4 Reasons Why a Vermont Furniture Store Wants to Save the Monarchs.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Top 4 Reasons Why a Vermont Furniture Store Wants to Save the Monarchs

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 01:47 pm

El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve
This is the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve I’ll be visiting next week.  It’s a World Heritage Site that provides over-wintering for almost the entire gene pool of the monarch butterfly.  It is under assault by illegal loggers.  Photo courtesy of El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve.

At 7am on Sunday morning I’ll be boarding a flight to Morelia, Mexico. Woohoo! The trip evolved out of my obsession with forest conservation and the Monarch Butterfly. If you’re a frequent flyer on this blog, you’ve probably noticed we love environmental projects like this.

The other day, Megan (our ace Marketing Maven) suggested I try to boil down some of my previous blogs and summarize why a Vermont furniture store would want to help save the Monarch Butterfly.  So here goes… the Top 4 reasons are:

The Environment Is Important To Us

It’s not just me.  At Vermont Woods Studios we are a community of nature lovers, idealists, world travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.  Most of us grew up in rural places and have had much interaction with butterflies, birds and other critters throughout our lives.  Monarchs are such a big, beautiful butterfly!  They were everywhere in Vermont.  It used to be practically a right of passage for kids to collect them and watch their metamorphosis every August.  Now they are extremely rare and we worry about that.

The Environment Is Important To Our Customers

Our customers have many options as to where they buy their furniture.  Often times they tell us that when it comes to the final decision, with all else being equal, they are looking for an environmentally responsible company.  We are trying to live up to that.

We Want to Change the World

A Vermont Furniture Store's Green Team
Margaret Mead said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Getting a paycheck is not enough for all the hard work that goes into making this Vermont furniture store a success.  We want to feel like our efforts matter.  Like there’s a purpose behind our work.

Planting milkweed in Vernon, Vermont | Restoring Monarch butterfly habitat
Milkweed.  We’ve been restoring Monarch habitat in Vermont.  But what difference will that make if the butterflies lose their over-wintering habitat in Mexico?

Changing the world is a little hard to get our arms around though.  But we can change a little part of it:  like restoring habitat for the Monarchs.  And that’s totally possible because in Vermont, Monarch habitat is primarily one plant, milkweed.  It’s easy… we collect milkweed seeds in the Fall and plant them in the Spring.  This year we’re hoping to have a sizable plot of milkweed habitat in the backyard here at Stonehurst.

We Believe Business Has a Responsibility to Make the World a Better Place

With our business behind us (founded on the mission of forest conservation) we don’t have to stop at planting milkweed in Vermont.  We can extend our conservation efforts.  We know that Monarchs don’t spend their winters here– they migrate to Mexico and roost in evergreen (oyamel) trees in the mountains of Michoacan.  Those oyamel trees are being illegally logged and the Monarch’s habitat is disappearing.

What difference does it make if we restore their habitat here in Vermont?  The species will still go extinct if they lose their winter habitat.  So that brings me back to my trip to Mexico. I’ll be working with Jose Luis Alvarez of the La Cruz Habitat Protection Program to help conserve existing forest habitat and replant what’s been destroyed.  You can find details here in last week’s blog.  By the way, there’s still time to join me on this adventure!

Monarchs

I’d love to hear what you think about butterflies, business and changing the world.  Please comment on Facebook or in the section below.  Thanks for reading.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

You, Me & 100 Million Monarch Butterflies

Last updated on May 4th, 2018 at 10:05 am

Monarch Butterflies in Michoacan, Mexico
Monarch Butterflies in Michoacan, Mexico.  2016 tours are still available through Spirit of Butterflies Tours in coordination with Forests for Monarchs founder Jose Luis Alvarez.  Photo courtesy of Homero Gomez Gonzalez.

One of Earth’s Greatest Natural Wonders

Right now at this very moment, one of earth’s most amazing natural wonders is taking place in Mexico.  Nearly 100 million monarch butterflies from all over the USA and Canada have migrated south to the mountains of Central Mexico where they are over-wintering prior to their return flight this Spring.  We’ve described the Monarch migration in previous blogs– it’s the most complex migration pattern of any known species on earth.

A Monarch butterfly we reared in Vermont
A Monarch butterfly we reared at Stonehurst, here in Vermont.  She could well be one of those in the photo above after making a 3000 mile migration from VT to Mexico last Fall.

Monarch Butterflies Are on the Brink of Extinction

Over the past 20 years the monarch population has declined by 90 percent.  During the winter of 1996-1997, scientists estimated there were a billion monarchs over-wintering in Mexico.  An estimate from last year found only about 35 million, a number so low that several environmental organizations are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to classify monarch butterflies as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Reforestation of Monarch Habitat by LCHPP
Reforestation of the Monarch Habitat  in Michoacan, Mexico is being led by Jose Luis Alvarez of the La Cruz Habitat Protection program LCHPP (aka Forests for Monarchs).  I’m heading to Mexico in late February to work with Jose Luis.  You should join us!

You Can Help Save Them

Love nature?  Here are a couple ways you can help save the amazing Monarch butterfly from extinction:

Help Restore Monarch Habitat in the USA and Canada

Monarchs need milkweed and nectar plants to survive and thrive during the summer months they spend in the US and Southern Canada.  We’ve written many blogs about how to plant milkweed and we even have milkweed seeds we’ll be happy to send you if you’d like to get involved.

Help Restore Monarch Habitat in Mexico

At Vermont Woods Studios we’ve allied with the La Cruz Habitat Protection Program LCHPP in an effort to Plant a Million Trees every year in the Monarch’s overwintering area in Michoacan, Mexico.  I’ll be writing more about LCHPP, a leading organization in the race to save the Monarch, but for a glimpse of their work check out this video.

Join us on the Spirit of Butterflies tour Feb-March 2016
Join us on the Spirit of Butterflies tour Feb-March 2016. Photo courtesy of Homero Gomez Gonzalez.

Spirit of Butterflies Tour

For the adventurous nature lover, here’s another way to help save the Monarchs.  Contact Maraleen Manos-Jones who works with LCHPP and sign up for the trip of a lifetime: a tour of the Monarch butterflies over-wintering forest habitat in Michoacan, Mexico.  Leading the tour will be Jose Luis Alvarez, co-founder of LCHPP and renowned expert on Monarchs and reforestation of their habitat. I’m taking the tour at the end of February… why don’t you join me?  I’ll provide details in my next blog but in the meantime, you can check out what other travelers have said about visiting monarch over-wintering sites on TripAdvisor.

I took this photo 15 years ago when we were rearing wild monarchs in Vermont.
I took the photo of Kendall 15 years ago when we were rearing wild monarchs in Vermont.  Now there are none to be found.  Check out the link to National Geographic’s film about the monarch story.

Why Does A Furniture Company Care?

Vermont Woods Studios was founded on a mission of forest conservation.  From the beginning we set out not only to provide our customers with the best value & quality for Vermont made wood furniture but also to conserve the forests that provide wood for furniture.  That mission of forest conservation coupled with my history of studying Monarchs with Kendall and Riley when they were little, made this project with LCHPP and Spirit of Butterflies a perfect fit.  I hope you’ll join us as we work to help bring this iconic species back and conserve them for future generations.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Look Jeff, You’re Famous!

Last updated on June 2nd, 2022 at 09:12 am

jeff-reformer-1 (1)
Jeff and his claim to fame

The Power of Awareness

When we first started this monarch conservancy project, we knew a key pillar to success would be to spread the word. In order for a change to happen, people need to know that a change is necessary; intervention is necessary and knowledge is power.

You would think that raising awareness would be simple in our social media flooded climate. A post to Facebook would reach the eyes of hundreds and if they deemed it worthy of sharing, thousands. A quick and to-the-point blast to twitter would reach another thousand. Our website and blog would reach yet another; so, prospects were looking good.

Announcements were made, posts posted and blogs painstakingly pulled from the most creative corners of our minds until one day, Jeff was discovered. For those of you who somehow don’t know, Jeff is our monarch champion mascot and he’s pretty famous as of Wednesday when his picture first appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer.

A day later , an article appeared highlighting the need for monarch restoration and upping the ante on spreading awareness.

jeff-reformer-2
Jeff! Jeff! Can we have your autograph?

We at Vermont Woods Studio are extremely grateful to the local people, media and Jeff for getting the word out. We are very excited to continue reporting on our cohort of monarchs until they take flight and go off on their own in the world.

Don’t Panic! That’s not the end. Once our little Jeff and his cronies fly the coop, we will shed an honorary tear and then get back to work hatching plans to harvest more milkweed seeds to plant this fall. There is no time to waste people, we have monarchs to rehabilitate!

(This is part three of a four part blog series on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration Project)

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.