Join the Monarch Squad

 

World Wildlife Fund has set a goal – getting 1 million supporters to help save the monarch butterfly.

 

Threatened by illegal logging, global warming, herbicide use, and vanishing food source (milkweed) for caterpillars, monarchs are in serious danger.

“Now more than ever, Mexico, the United States, and Canada should increase their conservation efforts to protect and restore the habitat of this butterfly along its migratory route,” said Omar Vidal, Director General for WWF-Mexico.

 

Last year, I began planting my own butterfly garden in an effort to help provide a habitat for monarch butterflies, and any other form of wildlife that might seek food and shelter there.

 

            BEFORE                                    AFTER

Butterfly garden in progress

Not very organized and probably have too much in there, but I didn’t expect everything to take off the way it did!

preparing a butterfly garden for Endangered Species Day

Ready for planting!

Spotted turtle in my garden

Turtles come through my backyard every summer to lay their eggs in the same place. Each generation of turtle somehow knows the exact route, like they have their own inner GPS.

Butterfly on milkweed in my garden

See the butterfly in the middle of the milkweed? This is not a monarch, as it has no white spots. I think it might be a fritillary, maybe the variegated species.

Garter snake

This is a harmless garter snake, and they love my garden!

Snapping turtle in my backyard

Hubs nearly ran over this guy with the mower. I had to come and get it ‘cuz it’s a snapping turtle!

Snapping turtle in my backyard

Just a baby, though. Hubs still took off, so my son had to take the pics.

 

Spring is just around the corner in the US, and the monarch butterflies will be heading along their migratory route, back to their northern homes. They will be in search of food and shelter. They will need milkweed, the only plant on which they lay their eggs and the one food source for their babies.

If you have a backyard, won’t you consider providing a home for some beautiful monarchs? Even if you’re sans yard, you can still fight for their survival.

Join the Monarch Squad

 

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29 thoughts on “Join the Monarch Squad

  1. Your garden is beautiful! And love your critters. We (and my son’s school) have a butterfly garden. Bring on the butterflies! Have you read Laurence Pringle’s picture book for elementary age kids, “An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly”? When he read an excerpt of it to us at a Highlights workshop, we teared up (as did his listeners). It’s quite a journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so awesome that your son’s school has a butterfly garden. What a great idea! Do they track the different kinds of butterflies or any other creatures that visit?

      I have not read Pringle’s book, but I will look that up. If the story moved people to tears, then I want to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think your garden is overdone at all—it looks fabulous! We laid out a long bed last fall, added four inches of good topsoil, and let it settle in over the winter. I’m anxious to get planting, but I’ll wait for that last frost before laying in the 130+ plants my design calls for.

    The center section is a meadow garden with lots of native plants, including butterfly weed specifically for the monarchs and other butterflies. But they’ll also enjoy the various coneflowers, bee balm, and Joe-Pye weed, I think. 🙂 And there’s another area by a young tree that might be just the place for some milkweed….

    I think the bed will look good to human eyes, too, but it’s really meant to be food and shelter for native birds, bees, butterflies, and small critters. 😉 I’m not sure I’d want a snapping turtle in the yard, but we did have a huge salamander overwinter at our first house years ago. That would be fun to see again!

    The “monarchs welcome” sign will definitely be out in this yard. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember you posting about your garden bed a while back. I hope that you’ll keep us up to date with your progress. I really do enjoy watching gardens come to life, and all the different ideas people have for plants, arrangements, designs, etc.

      130+ plants — wowza! I bet that’ll be fun to pull together, and a lot of work. But worth it. You’re sure to get a beautiful variety of winged creatures!

      Salamanders are really neat. I remember, as a kid, I used to catch them and then put them in an empty fish aquarium we had in the barn. I always freed them after a while, but looking back, they probably didn’t enjoy the detour in their daily schedule!

      We have a small pond behind our house, and that’s where all the turtles come from. We get a lot of frogs and toads, too. Once I found an albino toad, but when I went to get my camera it had disappeared. Would love to see one of those again!

      Like

    • Hey Paul! That’s awesome. Thanks so much for taking the time and signing up. I really hope WWF gets the million supporters they’re looking for.

      Absolutely — feel free to reblog. The more squad members, the merrier! 🙂 Thanks for thinking of that. And the monarchs thank you too.

      Like

  3. well done for taking care of the other families living in your garden!

    We don’t get anywhere near the variety you seem to having visiting or living in your garden. My wife does take car to feed the birds and we get other common visitors like the odd squirrel, foxes and occasional hedgehog. The local cats probably scare off anything else.

    We get the odd butterfly. Not sure whether Monarch is one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’ve run into troubles with housecats who are allowed to roam the wild. I have two cats, but I keep them indoors mainly because I enjoy the wild animals too much. I doubt I’d get those fun creatures if my cats were out on the prowl!

      Like

  4. Yay for butterflies! Nice work, honey. You’re such a champion of nature…thank you.

    A friend of mine and I have always believed in white butterflies being a symbol of change. I had to add that into my WIP, of course. White butterflies are big in the story. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for my garden sanctuary. When writing just can’t cut it for one reason or another, I find cultivating a garden (and yard in general) is a huge stress-reliever. I love that detail of the white butterfly, and that you added it into your story. What a great way to honor it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. I seem to have missed a few of your posts! I have a tree in my back garden, actually it’s not strictly a tree, it’s a bush of some kind that grows really big and looks like a tree (Can you tell I’m not very knowledgeable about plants and gardening!), and it attracts butterflies-a-plenty. I couldn’t tell you if they’re monarchs or not, but they’re certainly beautiful. That’s amazing that you have turtles going through your yard every year, I’ve never heard of that, what a privilege to see that! Not too keen on snakes but I think I’d be ok if I knew for sure they were the harmless kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your bush-that-looks-like-a-tree sounds great for butterflies! Is it a Rose of Sharon? That’s a deciduous shrub that can grow pretty big if it isn’t pruned. I don’t know that it looks like a tree though. I have a couple of those and the butterflies and hummingbirds swoon over them.

      The turtles are really fascinating, and I should write a post just about their journey because it’s kind of neat. The inner GPS is the best way I can describe it because I’ve had to follow them and make sure they’re safe as they cross a street to get to their nesting grounds. They take the same route every year.

      Loads of garter snakes. I won’t tell you the story about the snake and the toad I found. That’s just too much, even for me. 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks Coleen! I love my backyard turtles too. I’ll never forget when I was a kid seeing a humongous tortoise crossing the road. All the cars had stopped and people were out making sure he safely crossed. This guy was huge!! That image always stayed with me — I think we have to do everything we can, no matter if it’s helping a tortoise cross the street or building butterfly gardens or volunteering at a sanctuary. If we all pitch in, we can protect so much.

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    • Milkweed is so pretty too. The shame about milkweed is that it is considered a “weed” in the Midwest. People are constantly pulling it up and getting rid of it — I’m hoping that with some education more citizens will realize that just because humans don’t like something doesn’t mean it isn’t important to another species.

      I hope you get to plant some!

      Like

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