It’s September 27th in Nichol field at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. The kids are back in school, 99.9% of us have taken our vacations and after Labor Day, the swimming beach at the lake is closed.
Danaus Plexxipus has been flying for some weeks now. Blessed with its lode of toxic glycosides, its wings remain whole and powerful. Just days ahead it will continue its migration hundreds and hundreds of miles down to Mississippi or Louisiana. Don’t get me started as to how incredible that is! Our monarch butterflies will navigate without roadmap and without GPS. Explain that to me please? I still get razzed because I am GPS challenged.
This one may have travelled down from Meadville or points north. Milkweed, dogbane, teasel, and butterflyweed flowers are gone. Huge expanses of Goldenrod await to replace their nectar pumps. The Plan is to sustain North America’s beloved Monarch travelers with billions of goldenrod flowers, each one producing the nutrients to feed the Monarchs. They are joined by Painted Ladies and other butterflies passing through on their sylvan wings to West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and southward.
Goldenrod is not regularly noticed and is little appreciated. The plant supports America’s Monarchs year after year, and this is a nice tale to tell.
- Monarch butterfly population plummets (northcountrypublicradio.org)
- The Plight of the Monarch Butterfly (theblondegardener.com)
- Monarch butterflies begin a long journey at Tyler Arboretum (philly.com)
- Story 2.0: Mexico’s Fragile Monarch Sanctuary (northcountrypublicradio.org)
- Earth Our Home too : Monarch Butterflies (propelsteps.wordpress.com)