From the La Vista Ecological Learning Center September Newsletter CLICK HERE to visit their website
On Saturday, September 20, thirty folks gathered at La Vista to learn about the fall Monarch migration and to celebrate the beginning of autumn.
To introduce themselves, participants told about the last time they spotted a Monarch. We learned much about one another, country or state of origin, and the presence and absence of Monarchs in our areas.
This sharing whetted our appetites for viewing the YouTube video “Plight of the Monarchs” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZKbZdLtBoM), a twenty minute informative presentation filmed in central Illinois. We became aware of the threats to the endangered phenomenon of the annual Monarch migration such as habitat loss, use of pesticides, and disappearance of the valuable milkweed plant.
Next we headed outside to a patch of milkweed that has been cordoned off and allowed to grow throughout the season. As we stood there listening to a reading about the Monarch, one beautiful butterfly showed up to delight us – right on cue!
Then we moved to the site of a proposed pollinator garden located on the terraces beneath a statue of Mary. An enthused volunteer shared our plan and invited those present to become part of the effort to provide a safe haven and nectar for all pollinators, including the valued Monarch butterfly.
We ended the program on the front patio overlooking the Mississippi as we heard from a gentleman who “tags” Monarchs at the Heartland Prairie nearby. Everyone was amazed as we learned the technique used to tag and track Monarchs that end up in Mexico on the Day of the Dead in November. Several participants plan to join this effort.
It was a good day to encourage people to join what Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods) calls the “Backyard Revolution”. Planting milkweed in our yards and schools, observing Monarchs as they visit, eat, and form cocoons on the plants, are great ways to do something we all dream of doing: making a difference. In this case the difference will be to the future of biodiversity, to native plants and animals of North America and the ecosystems that sustain them. By joining this effort, we would be connecting to something large, magnificent, mysterious, and endangered.
To learn more about creating a Monarch “waystation” in your backyard as well as about tagging Monarchs, please visit www.MonarchWatch.org Join the Backyard Revolution!