Rotary Butterfly Garden
Thanks to the partnership of Rotary Clubs, many schools, CMS, NCDOT, Green Teacher Network, Monarch Rescue, Monarch Watch and many others with which our Rotarians have worked. We now have hundreds of Butterfly Gardens in parks and in our own backyards!! Edna Chiroci and Anna Davis have helped spread the word and the milkweed. Year after year, the butterfly gardens will continue.
As the dwindling Monarch butterflies make their Migration, let's try to save them and teach our Youth about nature conservation at the same time. Few animals inspire as much devotion and study as the monarch butterfly. Its multigenerational, 3,000-mile migration from Canada to Mexico and back to the Gulf Coast has long served as a symbol of the beauty and mystery of nature. But this migration that still puzzles researchers could soon become a thing of the past. Monarch populations are declining at alarming rates, thanks to a deadly combination of factors that include illegal logging, wildfires, droughts, and a dramatic loss of their milkweed habitat in the United States. Last winter marked the lowest monarch count ever recorded at a time when other pollinators such as honeybees, native bees, birds, and bats-vital to U.S. agriculture -also are facing serious decline. If there is one key to saving the monarch, it is milkweed. The butterfly and the plant evolved together over the centuries.
"Milkweed is the only plant on which the monarch caterpillar can lay its eggs."
Once consumed by the caterpillar, the chemicals in milkweed protect the monarch from predators. But milkweed is a victim of the human battle against weeds. Modern agriculture and chemicals, which have been very effective at weed control, have clearly benefited both the American economy and the worlds. But a casualty of that economic benefit is the loss of milkweed and of other nectar-producing plants that are the foundation of the Monarch life cycle. If we care, what we have to do is restore the habitat, plant Milkweed. It is up to us to rebuild the Monarch Habitat, including the essential milkweed, by planting Butterfly Gardens in our gardens, our schools and throughout our communities.
Our focus is on teaching the younger generation about the importance of conserving nature. It's hard to get a 4th grader to understand the need for providing clean water for the indigenous people in Honduras, but these kids can understand the disappearance of a butterfly. If your club is interested in teaming up with a school, care center, community garden, etc., please let us know. We are hoping to get as many gardens as possible planted in October. If that doesn't work for you, don't worry about it, mid April to mid May is also a great time for garden installations.
Resources and Articles:
The Pollinator Partnership: www.pollinator.org
The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail: http://jimmycarter.info/CarterButterflyTrail.htm
Xerces Society: http://www.xerces.org