It is not new news that Monarch butterflies are threatened because of the loss of milkweeds, where Monarchs lay their eggs, and the leaves of which are the only food their larva will eat. Milkweeds have been removed through herbicides and indiscriminate mowing in the corn belt region of the U.S. where genetically modified corn and soybeans have been planted, modified to be resistant to Round-up, the poison used to kill the milkweed. The seemingly magical migration of Monarchs who cannot survive the winter, a journey of hundreds to thousands of miles the monarchs make intergenerationally (i.e taking four generations to make the round trip) to overwinter in Mexico and southern California is seriously endangered.
Yesterday JB was at the Chicago Botanic Garden where there was a symposium of the Make Way for Monarchs organization. From the Chicago Botanic Garden website, members of this organization, “conduct research on monarch butterfly recovery and promote positive, science-based actions to avert food web collapse in the milkweed community and the further demise of the monarch migration to Mexico. They aim to promote social engagement to implement tangible solutions in midwestern landscapes through collaborative conservation.” Just minutes after he shared a few anecdotes about a couple of the members he met there, we walked into our own garden where we were greeted by a Monarch sipping nectar from the alium growing there. We stopped and silently watched him/her for a while, took a few pictures, and headed out to dinner.
Joni Mitchell’s words, which I hadn’t thought of in way too many years, came bubbling to the surface (see video below):
Don’t it always seem to go
that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx—from “Big Yellow Taxi”
JB and I are already planning a bit of a reconnaissance mission, gathering milkweed seeds to plant in our garden and other discreet neighborhood locations.
(top photo by JB)