Local Monarch Sitings on the Rise!
Nature nuts, take heart. This year your friends and neighbors are seeing a significant increase in monarch butterflies. How about you? How many have you seen? More than last year? Personally, I've seen more monarchs this year than in the last 10 years. Still not nearly as many as 15-20 years ago, but encouraging!
We've had dozens of monarch caterpillars on our milkweed at Stonehurst this year. I brought some of them into this mesh (laundry basket) enclosure to protect them from predators (ants, wasps, yellow jackets, etc). Caution: when doing this don't crowd too many butterflies into the same space, otherwise disease may spread.
Milkweed: If You Plant It They Will Come (and Come Back)
If you want to help the monarchs make a comeback, plant some milkweed in your garden (where to get seeds & plants). NPR just ran a story about how monarch habitat is expanding due to people cultivating it in their backyards, porches and balconies. You will make a difference! Researchers believe that monarch offspring return to the exact same milkweed patch, 5 generations later. We've seen evidence of this at Stonehurst.
Still Many Challenges Ahead
Even with the latest anecdotal evidence of an increase in numbers, the monarch's battle for survival is far from over. The butterflies still have to get to Mexico, over-winter there & mate before we can think about celebrating success for 2018. Weather patterns and food (nectar plants) availability are the two big variables threatening these next parts of their migratory cycle.
Become a Citizen Scientist
Have you ever wondered how we know so much about monarch migration? It's due to the passion of people like you & me who began sending reports of monarch sightings to Dr Fred Urquhart in the 1950s (Flight of the Butterflies). This tracking project is ongoing and you can contribute by reporting your sightings to Journey North. There's even an app for your phone to make it super easy and quick.
Free Common Milkweed Seeds
If common milkweed is native in your area and you can't find seeds or plants, let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below. We'll send you seeds from our garden.
Help Restore the Monarch's Winter Habitat Too
We've been working with a non-profit, Forests for Monarchs to help restore the monarch's winter habitat located in the oyamel forest of Michoacan, Mexico. As wood furniture makers, we founded Vermont Woods Studios on a mission of forest conservation. We support various local and global tree-planting projects. Through Forests for Monarchs we plant at least 2 trees for every furniture order we take and have planted over 56,000 trees so far. You can plant trees too, by donating to FFM.