Boy Scout Troop 71′s official home at Camp Kishwaukee, located off of Millhurst Road in Plano, has become certified as an official Monarch Butterfly Waystation through the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch program.
Monarch Waystations are intended to help the declining population of monarch butterflies migrate, survive and thrive.
Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to mountains in central Mexico where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, yet it is threatened by habitat loss. The use of herbicides and frequent mowing along roadsides has converted much of the butterflies’ natural habitat to grassy areas that lack shelter and food for wildlife.
Although some states have started to increase the diversity of plantings (including milkweeds) along roadsides, these programs are small. Unfortunately, the remaining milkweed habitats in pastures, hayfields, edges of forests, grasslands, native prairies and urban areas are not sufficient to sustain the large monarch butterfly populations seen in the past. Monarch populations have decreased significantly since the 1990s.
Monarch Waystations are dedicated areas of green space that can provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain the butterflies in their yearly migration. Milkweed is an important part of the puzzle. Without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarch butterflies would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Similarly, without nectar from flowers the monarch butterflies would be unable to make their fall migration. It is a long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico, and the need for host plants for larvae and energy sources applies to butterfly populations all over the world.
Troop 71′s Camp Kishwaukee is certified as an official Monarch Waystation with the unique Monarch Waystation ID number 32580.
“In order to become certified, we needed to demonstrate that we had a suitable area to grow and maintain milkweed along with nectar rich plants. Troop 71 scouts are in the process of transforming part of Camp Kishwaukee into a wildflower and milkweed garden. As part of their continuing conservation service hours, the scouts will maintain this dedicated area for years to come,” said Jenn Superczynski, troop secretary.
The scouts’ project will include continued mulching, thinning, fertilizing, amending the soil, removing dead stalks, watering, eliminating insecticide use, removing invasive plant species, and incorporating additional features to keep this habitat thriving. By providing nectar sources that bloom sequentially or continuously during the season (as many butterfly plants do) the Monarch Waystation can provide resources for monarchs throughout the breeding season and the migration in the fall. The Monarch Waystation contains several annual, biennial, or perennial plants that provide nectar for the butterflies.
According to Superczynski, local residents can participate in this project, too.
“If you would like to plant some butterfly friendly plants or just wish to learn more, be sure to come to Troop 71′s Mother’s Day Weekend plant sale located at Niles Excavating, Inc., 715 E. South St. (Route 34) in Plano,” she said. Troop 71 Scouts will be selling plants on May 8 and 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. “We have over 65 heirloom plant varieties to choose from. Veggies, herbs and flowers. All our seeds are organic, non-GMO and heirloom or open-pollinated with 100% of sale profits go directly back to scouts,” Superczynski added.
For more information about Monarch Watch, visit monarchwatch.org, call 785-864-4441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Troop 71 news and events, visit Troopwebhost.org/Troop71Plano/Index.htm.