This past week the national news
reported that the Monarch Butterflies had reached Texas on their migration form
Canada to central Mexico. It seems
an appropriate time to post photos of some of those very same butterflies as
they visited The Gardens at Waters East
while on their spectacular journey back to their Winter resting area.
The whole migration of this very
unique butterfly is something to behold.
Starting in Mexico they cross the USA over the time of three generations
as they move North. Then the final
generation born in Canada, makes the return flight. In one generation from Canada to Mexico – never having been
to Mexico before taking this long flight.
Most fascinating indeed.
Over the past ten years there
have been a number of research projects and follow-up reports on the obvious
and noticeable decline in the Monarch butterfly population. If you are interested in this research,
just check the web and you will locate many many articles about this serious
problem. You will find there the
reasons for the drastic reduction of this most special butterfly, things like
large industrial farming removing the fence lines along smaller farms so that
the gigantic machinery can be used in cultivation and harvest, use of
herbicides – especially Roundup and 2-4 –D in agriculture, on gulf courses, and
home environment landscaping. These
and other recent “improvements” to eliminate problem “weeds” has caused the
Monarch population to crash. In
addition to these man made threats, there were two very cold years in Michoacan Mexico the very place
where these butterflies overwinter.
Thirteen years ago when Gardens at Waters East was beginning
its development, it was common to see dozens and dozens of these butterflies
drop from the sky like falling orange leaves coming here to feed in September while
on their long journey back to Mexico.
Three years ago there were NONE!
If you want more on the early
years of the Monarch habitat at the gardens here on the shores of Lake
Michigan, which is the fly route for these butterflies, check out a past
posting in the archives: Monarch Butterflies Feeding Station – March 3, 2011. There you will find a list of beneficial
plants and flowers that are critical in nourishing these long flying travelers
that make the three thousand mile trip from Canada back to their Winter resting
Thanks to places like Gardens at Waters East, and the many
similar nature preserve along the fly-route of the Monarch, and to the efforts
of concerned citizens and gardeners, some of the devastation to the needed
feeding habitat for these beautiful and unique butterflies has been
confronted. People concerned about
all the toxic chemicals used on our fragile planet, and their work to stop this
destruction of Mother Earth, has help to reverse the downward spiral of these
This year was amazing. The Monarch is coming back. There were dozens and dozens in the
gardens this September. More than
have been seen in years. I took my
time and just stood still near the asters and they were all about me. A joy to behold! A joy to experience.
Your comments are always welcome.
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accurate journal of the gardens;
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– is what it here. It is what it
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