By Rick Mikula (Mar. 2018)
I have to congratulate the proud citizens Rathdrum, Idaho for being the first city in the state to receive the Monarch City USA! To become designated so the residents of Rathdrum planted milkweed and nectar plants purposely to attract and benefit Monarch butterflies. Rathdrum city administrator Leon Duce researched many flowering and native wildflowers before the city decided on those that not only made the community look better but also helped the monarchs. Rathdrum joins 11 others cities, villages and schools in eight states to receive the designation of ‘Monarch City USA’.
Cole Camp, Missouri has the honor of being the first registered member of Monarch City USA and owe their thanks to members of the Cole Camp Friends of the Monarch. The nonprofit group worked Chip Taylor from the University of Kansas and Monarch City USA Director Russell Stubbles, of Maple Valley, Washington.
The First Monarch School USA! distinction belongs to The Journey School in Lynnwood WA. Washington. The city of Ellensburg WA. is also an official Monarch City USA. Others join the ranks are Fairfield Bay, Arkansas; Deland, Florida; Sandusky and Port Clinton, Ohio;
Booking, Oregon; and Greer, South Carolina. But the state with the most distinctions is Wisconsin! The great people of Hales Corners, Port Washington, River Falls, River Hills and Rome have all participated and achieved their titles. But not only does Port Edwards, WI have the honor of being the First Monarch Village USA! The Port Edwards Elementary School is an official Monarch School USA to boot!
Monarch City USA was created in 2015 in Maple Valley, Washington as a non-profit corporation. Their goal is to encourage municipalities across the US to directly help the monarch butterfly population recover through planting milkweed and nectar plants throughout their areas. To become a registered Monarch City USA is no easy task. It takes a combined effort of local government and concerned citizens to qualify. If you think your town has what it takes, please visit http://monarchcityusa.com/membership.
On a more somber note the World Wildlife Fund just put out a statement from their researchers in Mexico that the numbers where down from last year. "Although there are many factors involved, this decrease of the occupied surface is attributed to the presence of two tropical storms and three hurricanes on two occasions in the Atlantic coasts in mid-September of 2017, when the migration begins. This impacted the number of Monarchs that arrived in Mexico," said Jorge Rickards, Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Mexico. https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/monarch-butterfly "The high temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast of the United States also resulted in late migration and as a result low occupancy areas in Mexico, as suggested by US researchers," he added.
You can help track population fluctuations in your area by becoming a citizen scientist through Monarch Watch. Monarch Watch is seeking the assistance of hundreds of monarch enthusiasts to collect and conduct observations of monarchs in their area during both spring and fall. The project is an attempt to collect as much data on monarch numbers during the critical times in their breeding season. You do not need any formal training just have a love for monarchs.
If you would like become involve in the 2018 Monarch Calendar Project, please visit https://monarchwatch.org/blog/2018/03/10/2018-monarch-calendar-project/
The wave of Northward progressing monarchs have already been spotted in Deming NM. Woodstock GA; Holly Springs MS; Tulsa OK. and Peoria AZ. Fortunately, this year the milkweed is sprouting up well ahead of their arrival. Last year the gravid females arrived before the local milkweeds were ready for them and they had very few places to lay eggs. A situation like that cause the females to go into a phase called egg dumping. If only one or just a few milkweeds are available they will dump all of their eggs and overload the plants. With too many caterpillars on just one plant is will be quickly consumed and the remaining caterpillars will have nothing left to eat. This year however there are reports of milkweed ready to go in Cary, NC; Lenoir City TN; Springfield, MI; Oklahoma City, OK; Albuquerque, NM and Davis, CA. It seems to be popping up along the 37° latitude line right across the country.
Now that the monarchs are coming back winter doesn’t seem to have been that long afterwards. Do you have your seeds ready? Do you have your site planned out. How about your Monarch Migration Station? Is it ready to go? If you don’t have a Monarch Migration Station yet I am sure that we have a size and design that can serve you desires. Personally I will be using three Stations this year. But Shh… don’t tell anyone but I will be using one of my stations just to raise black swallowtails. Fill the 4X4 Butterfly Family Nursery with parsley and you’ll soon have more beautiful Black swallowtails swarming inside than you can ever imagine. The caterpillars are quite cute and a lot fun to watch.
If you need seeds do not despair! If you want seeds for milkweeds that are native to your area, do I have the site for you. The Xerces Society launched their Project Milkweed with support from the Monarch Joint Venture,
and in collaboration with the native seed industry and the USDA. They want to raise public awareness about milkweeds’ value to monarchs and native pollinators by promoting the inclusion of indigenous milkweeds in their habitat restoration efforts. To make it easier for you to stay ‘native’ in your plant selection Xerces developed a milkweed seed locator for you at https://xerces.org/milkweed-seed-finder/. Here you can enter the species of milkweed you are trying to locate and your state. Once your information is entered the site will refer you to suppliers that offer the seeds your desire.
Now there is nothing standing in your way
This entry was posted on April 4, 2018.