"The connection between milkweed and monarch has become widely known recently. Many people are now aware that although adult Monarch butterflies can nectar on any number of flowers, their offspring, emerging as caterpillars, must eat the leaves of milkweed and only milkweed to reach the next stage of growth and undergo the miraculous metamorphosis that allows an adult Monarch butterfly to come into existence.

 What has all this got to do with us? Quite simply, it gives us an opportunity to be a part of a solution.

 The 3-D film, Flight of the Butterflies, released this year, does a beautiful job of explaining the Monarch’s life cycle, its migration path, and the story of how scientists discovered the secrets behind Monarch migration. Towards the end of the film, a third-generation Monarch is heading south and looking desperately for a place to lay her egg. She must find a milkweed plant or the next generation will be born into starvation. As she flies over acres of fields of chemically-treated corn she finds no milkweed to land upon, and begins to sink down to the ground, her life nearly over, her mission incomplete. But suddenly, on the horizon, a sub division of houses appears. At this point, I must admit to a sentimental collapse….could it be? Was there going to be milkweed in one of those backyards? YES! There it was, one of those yards stood out from the sterile boxes of evergreen yews that surrounded it. In that sweet flowery haven, the butterfly landed on a milkweed, and I cried.

 That’s reasonable, right? I have spent the past 13 years preaching this message to everyone who will stand still long enough to hear it, not to mention those who were within earshot and simply couldn’t get away: Native plants make a difference. And there I was in the Smithsonian museum, my mission being validated by the best science, the most creative artists, and the most passionate, forward-thinking people there are. I’m practically crying just remembering it!

 Getting back to the subject. The butterfly laid her eggs, ensuring the next generation would make it to Mexico and carry the cycle forward. Which also gets us back to the current situation with milkweed. We can make a difference, we must make a difference. There are so many things we either have no power to change, or very little power to change; but if enough people choose native plants in their yards and their community spaces, we can provide enough biodiversity to preserve many things which are currently endangered, including Monarch butterflies."

Written by Suzanne Dingwell. Taken from:


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