Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Plight of the Monarch

Butterflies are self propelled flowers. ~ R.H. Heinlein

Most of you know that my family raises butterflies every summer, both black swallowtail and monarch. You may also remember that we weren't very successful with the monarch last year -- we found significantly fewer eggs, of those eggs only about half hatched, and then even the caterpillars didn't always survived. It was one of more devastating years. We only successfully raised ONE monarch last year, as compared to a dozen or so in 2008 and twice that in 2007 (our first year, when we didn't really know what we were doing, or how to find the eggs).

Dru sent me an article yesterday entitled: Where Have All the Monarch Butterflies Gone?

It says, in part:

In the 1980s, as many as 170,000 monarchs would descend each fall and spring upon Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif., to spend the winter in a seaside eucalyptus grove.

This year, however, just 3,800 monarchs showed up, a new low in what has been a steady and precipitous drop-off in population.

Two of the biggest problem are deforestation in Mexico in their over-wintering areas and the loss of milkweed in the United States.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you have space, please PLEASE plant milkweed. If you have an open field, or an unused area behind your shed, or a corner of your yard that isn't used for anything else, please consider milkweed. While the plant itself isn't lovely, the flowers ARE and the smell amazing. And, even better, they give the monarch (as well as a few other bugs who only eat milkweed like the Tussock Moth) a place to lay their eggs and raise their babies.

Monarch Watch offers both information on how to grow milkweed and butterflies, AND they offer free milkweed seeds (so do I, BTW, near the end of summer when they're ready to harvest).

If you opt to do this thing, I and the butterflies thank you. Who knows? If you're east of the Rockies one of my butterflies might stop by your house!


You Are Glamourous and Graceful

You have deep, sophisticated tastes. You appreciate the rich subtleties of life, and you avoid anything too crass or commercial.

You believe in savoring every moment of life. You are a minimalist, and you don't like to over do things.

You know that a little goes a long way. You can appreciate a piece of expensive dark chocolate, and prefer it to a fast food milkshake.

You have a great personal style that others envy. You know how to spot an underrated object from miles away.

Hmmm.... 50/50...



Dru said...

It's a shame that many of our nature's beauty are slowly disappearing.

You Are Cheerful and Colorful

No matter what the occasion, you feel like celebrating. It's always time for cake, and it's always time for a party.

You are a true entertainer. You love to bring a large crowd together - the bigger the bash, the better!

You indulge in every little treat or reward that comes your way. You don't believe in restraint or guilt.

Your taste can be a bit decadent, but you also remember that you only live once. You don't skip or scrimp on dessert.

Not even close, well I am cheerful.

Have a good Sunday.

Maria Zannini said...

I'll have to pay attention and see if I spot any milkweed this year.

Brandy said...

I'll be sure to look and see if there is any milkweed near our home. If there isn't, I'll be sure to try and plant some. This is just sad.
My quiz was the same as yours (I really like chocolate cheesecake. *G*)

I hope you're having a nice day.

groovyoldlady said...

There's lots of milkweed in our area, but none in our yard. I can easily put beaucoup plants out on the back perimeter of the yard. Looks a new homeschool project in Groovydom. Thanks for the idea!


(Dru, How do you get these quizes to show up in italics in comments?)

You Are Outrageous and Optimistic
You are the type of person who lives life to the fullest. You believe in going big or going home.
You aren't shy about what you want, and you aren't afraid to get it either. You really go for it!

You have a bold personality, and you tend to be attracted to anything or anyone who is over the top.
You are open minded, and you have eclectic taste. You truly can appreciate all the flavors of the world.

OK, I AM optimistic, but I'm only moderately outrageous...most of the time.

Terri Tiffany said...

I haven't been here in awhile and was glad I dropped by. I learned so much!