The Battle Is On

Monarch butterfly chrysalis photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Here is the prize that has motivated 493,000 home gardeners in the U.S.. Caused them to make big changes in their home gardens, lots and farm edges. The prospect of finding a Monarch butterfly chrysalis in 2015 has induced all of them to pull existing perennials, defer from putting in the same annuals as they have done for years, caused them to open their wallets/purses and acquire expen$ive milkweeds, and convinced them that the labor to do all this is well worth it.

NABA, Xerces, Eatonton’s Briar Patch, state and federal departments of conservation as well as many wonderful blogs, all trumpet the need to give Monarchs what they need most, reliable, unaltered milkweed plants. Plants that are free of introduced genes. Plants like those present in your county 200 years ago.

Mail-order nurseries have rushed production of young milkweed plants, anticipating the strong demand from the 493,000 gardeners and the horticultural conservatories across the United States, who know that their visitors in 2015 will be asking, ‘Where are your milkweeds?’

The thrill of explaining to the child next door, that this bejeweled little chrysalis case was the product of parents that flew 986 miles to your neighborhood. That this is their offspring . . . that when it exits it will be an adult Monarch butterfly . . . that this winged beauty will fly 986 miles back to Louisiana . . . What a wondrous moment!

The Battle is on. Americans don’t want the Monarch miracle to disappear. They don’t want to deprive their grandchildren of this inspirational tale of challenge upon challenge . . . overcome. They want the America they knew to be there, ongoing.

Jeff