This year Rather Be Home started an initiative to educate people in the community about Monarch butterflies and plant as many milkweed seeds and plants as possible. Plants were started indoors in March under grow lights. Our first stop was Rose Lane Nursing home where we worked with the Activities Department and scheduled a series of fun events for the residents. One day we planted milkweed seeds indoors with the residents. June 3rd we brought our small plants over for planting in the court yard. Rather Be Home supplied Activities with live Monarch caterpillars and fresh milkweed on several occasions so the residents could watch the transformation into a beautiful butterfly. The butterflies were kept inside for a day for the residents to enjoy and then taken outside with a band of happy onlookers to set them free.
Rather Be Home also conducted a presentation at Cardinal Manor for the seniors living there. They were also rewarded with live caterpillars that turned into majestic butterflies on several occasions.
Rather Be Home handed out small seed packets at both locations in the hopes of getting others to plant small patches for the Monarchs to lay their eggs. Right before winter strikes is the best time to plant your seeds for next year. The plants need cold stratification to germinate which makes this time of year the best for planting.
Most people are unaware that the only option for a Monarch butterfly to lay eggs in on the milkweed plant. Milkweed used to grow wild all over the area but now someone would be hard pressed to find some. Free seeds are available from www.livemonarch.com. If you plant milkweed, 100% of the time Monarchs will come and lay eggs on it. According to www.livemonarch.com. 50% fewer Monarchs were found in the Mountains of Mexico over wintering than last year. 2013 marked their lowest recorded numbers since discovery of their hidden sites 25 years ago. Monarchs over wintering are now 97% fewer than at their recorded height.
What this means: If you are part of a group of 100 and wake up to find you have only two friends left, you have a big problem. Please plant some milkweed!
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