By David Jakim
Endeavors in conservation to help protect declining monarch populations can start in Port residents’ backyards by planting or placing milkweed and nectar plants in a pot. Monarch habitats are sites containing a variety of nectar-producing plants, especially milkweed, a family of plants that is the sole host for Monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars. Like oases, these habitats serve as connections or steppingstones linking populations of Monarch butterflies and a diversity of wildlife over the course of their migratory cycles. Monarch habitats support many species of butterflies and moths, bees, dragonflies, migratory and breeding birds, native plants, and many other organisms.
The Port Washington Monarch Butterfly Alliance will be hosting Monarch workshops for the general community, workshops for teachers and planting events in public parks and other habitats throughout the year. The Workshops turn the practice of raising Monarch Butterflies into a learning experience for adults and children. Participants will also be introduced to the surprising plants and animals associated with Monarchs as the Monarchs go through their brief reproductive life cycle in Port Washington along their migratory route from Mexico and back each year. Participants with free local plants, caterpillars, equipment, storybooks and the training needed to raise monarch butterflies in their homes, classrooms, and gardens. By releasing monarch butterflies into the world to join their migration and by planting seeds, participants will be supporting the growth and health of this imperiled species, pollinators, and Port Washington’s biodiversity.
The best place to find Monarch butterflies on any sunny summer day is the GuggenheimPreserve Meadow off of Middle Neck Road in Port Washington. David Jakim will be leading regular wildflower and butterfly walks for adults and children through this preserve on Saturday mornings once a month. The Port Washington Monarch Alliance is also hosting a two-hour workshop at the Port Washington Public Library on Saturday July 22 from 10 to 12 p.m. in the Lapham Room (for adults only). On Saturday, July 29, the Port Washington Monarch Butterfly Alliance will be at the town dock at 8 a.m. for a caterpillar and seed giveaway. There will be wildflower and butterfly walks at the Guggenheim Preserve on Aug. 5 and 26 at 10 a.m.
The Port Washington Monarch Butterfly Alliance is a community organization with the goal of making the entire community of PW a butterfly sanctuary, to re-wild our area to promote biodiversity, and to make experiences of nature more accessible to the community. We are a collaboration of local schools, youth and community groups, public gardens, environmental centers, businesses, government agencies, and international Monarch conservation groups. For more information about how to get involved and for upcoming events like workshops, walks, and planting events, visit our website at www.PWMonarchAlliance.org.