Posts Tagged ‘monarch habitat loss’

It has been just about a year since Longshot, a late season Monarch butterfly I once knew.

Brought inside from freezing November cold, Longshot emerged from its chrysalis too late, with stiff wings.  Passing on amidst fine fresh cut flowers and greenery, Longshot had a view of a sky he or she never touched.

Buried under the milkweed in my garden, I have visited Longshot as the winter and my legal ordeal wore on.  Spring and summer came, with some luck the worst part of a high conflict custody matter is behind me.

Come autumn, the garden is again a riot of bursting seed pods, crimson grass, yellow leaves, azure and purple sage.  Color to rival summer in every way, hummingbirds only now trailing away.

The spell of autumn is different, tales of things that come to pass, like Longshot, or custody trials and the ill they weave, decaying in their time.

Though globally, monarch populations continue to decline,  more visited my garden this season than any year prior.

Here is to you Longshot, for the will to live in the toughest of times and the heart to come again in the spring, eternity is yours.

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Yesterday my youngest went on a nature walk with his class around the wetland area surrounding the school campus.  While surveying a stand of milkweed, he was thrilled to locate  a monarch caterpillar noshing on a leaf and excitedly shared his find with the class.

We went back after school today to take a look at our newly found friend.  My son ran ahead of me on the boardwalk built to protect the environs, only to reappear seconds later downcast.  The milkweed stand, some two feet away from the boardwalk had been mowed, only shards of stems and ragged leaves remained — gone too was the young caterpillar.

This  mishap echoes the greater decimation of milkweed across the United States.  As the primary host plant of the monarch butterfly, milkweed  has come under attack from habitat development, herbicide use – and errant human aesthetics – of the kind that mowed the native habitat in our wetland.

We take so much, we give so little.  In my small garden I cultivate five different varieties of milkweed, provide cover, shade and water.  It does not touch the loss of one or  one million acres of lost milkweed – but at least it exists.  Do you want to keep breathing oxygen?  Plant a tree.  Want to see beauty on the wing?  Plant a milkweed.   Think global, act local, as they say.

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