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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monarch Watch Update


Since we moved in here, I have been interested in attracting Monarch butterflies and we now have several stands of healthy milkweed, the only host plant to the Monarch butterfly, around the garden.

Last summer we succeeded in having our garden registered as a Monarch Waystation even though, due to the drought and other environmental factors, we saw few Monarchs and even fewer caterpillars on our milkweed.

This year, we've already seen a couple of Monarchs visiting our garden, in fact just today I watched one flitting from plant to plant around the back garden for 15 minutes before heading off over the wall.  I hope she left some eggs!


I thought I would share with you some information I recently received in an email from MonarchWatch.org.

Greeting Monarch Watchers!

Spring seems to have sprung a bit early across the U.S. and we know many of you are anxious to hear how the monarchs fared over the winter in Mexico (we've been anxious too!) - we have that news for
you and more this time around so please take a minute to read through this brief newsletter and share it with anyone you think might be interested. We have a number of other projects going right now and we will posting a lot of new information via our blog at monarchwatch.org/blog in the coming months so be sure to check in from time to time :-)

Happy Spring!

Monarch Population Status
The size of the overwintering monarch population in Mexico is usually released in late January or February. Early reporting helps all of us plan for the season ahead. Unfortunately, for reasons that are not clear, this report wasn't released to the press until the 15th of March - at the end of the season and a week after the first monarchs from Mexico had made their appearance in Texas.

The total for all colonies, as reported to the press, is 2.89 hectares. There is good news and bad news in this number. The good news is that the population was larger, by almost a hectare, than we expected. The bad news is that this number represents the 4th lowest total for the monarch colonies recorded since the winter of 1994-1995. Further, this population represents a continuation of a trend - the 8th consecutive population below the long term average.

For those interested, we have posted further discussion (with much more detail) via our blog at monarchwatch.org/blog

Spring Open House & Plant Fundraiser
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Monarch Watch, Lawrence, KS

We're gearing up for another big Spring Open House & Plant Fundraiser here at Monarch Watch.  We will have more than 4,000 butterfly plants (both annuals and perennials), including seedlings of at least nine  varieties. These plants are ideal for starting butterfly gardens or adding to established gardens. Monarch numbers have been declining and we need to plant milkweeds to sustain the monarch migration. Modest contributions are suggested for the plants. A list of available plants and complete details are now online at monarchwatch.org/openhouse

We'd love to see you here on Saturday, May 12th so mark your calendars! If you can't make it in person, be sure to check us out online - we plan to post photos and broadcast some LIVE video throughout the day.

If you are planning on visiting from out of town (yes, many people do), be aware that KU is holding graduation ceremonies the same weekend (a week earlier than usual) so all of the lodging in Lawrence is likely booked up. If you would like some suggestions please feel free to drop us a line anytime.

Monarch Recoveries
We've received preliminary recovery reports of approximately 1,000 monarch tags this season and will update the online recovery database as soon as we have received and checked all of the data. If you have not yet returned your datasheets from last fall (or any tagging season for that matter) please make a copy and send us the originals as soon as possible.

Each year we spend valuable resources tracking down tag data for recoveries - please help us conserve our limited resources by submitting your tag data in a timely manner :-)


Monarch Rearing Kits and Tagging Kits
It's that time of year again - we are now accepting preorders for Monarch Rearing Kits and Tagging Kits.

We will begin shipping Monarch Rearing Kits to people that want to raise monarchs at home or in the classroom the first week of April. As usual, Tagging Kits will be sent out in the fall (typically beginning the last week of July) in time for the migration in your area - please place your orders early as we will have a limited number of tags and will definitely run out.

These items (and more) are available via the Monarch Watch Shop at shop.monarchwatch.org where each purchase helps support our educational, conservation, and research programs. Thank you for your interest and support!

Monarch Watch Monarch Waystation Initiative
As many of you know, "Monarch Waystations" are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to reproduce and sustain their migration. Most of these habitats are simply specialized gardens at homes, schools, businesses, zoos, nature centers, parks, and other unused (or under used) plots of land.

Since we announced this initiative in 2005, more than 5,000 habitats around the world have been registered with us as Monarch Waystations.

This is a certainly a good start, but we need to do more. In the United States we are losing 6,000 acres per day to development - a major contributing factor to the decline of monarch butterfly populations. To assure a future for monarchs, conservation and restoration of milkweeds needs to become a national priority.

By creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation you are contributing to monarch conservation, an effort that will help assure the preservation of the species and the continuation of the spectacular monarch migration phenomenon.

Complete information is available at
monarchwatch.org/waystations and you can view the online registry of all 5,000+ habitats at monarchwatch.org/waystations/registry

Please consider establishing and registering a Monarch Waystation this year and encourage others to do so as well - thank you!

Wow - Another Record Breaking Month!
As you may know, through our association with Amazon.com - and its specialized stores: Endless (Shoes & Handbags); Amazon Wireless (Mobile Phones); and Small Parts (Hardware Store) - your purchases can help support Monarch Watch.

By using any of the links on our site at monarchwatch.org/amazon to visit and shop at Amazon.com, Endless.com, Amazon Wireless, or
SmallParts.com, Monarch Watch will receive a "commission" equal to a percentage of your purchase amount (currently 4-15%). This applies to ANY purchase at Amazon's stores - Apps, Books, Clothing, Electronics, Movies, Music, Office Supplies, Shoes, Tools, Toys, etc.

December 2011 was another record breaking month for us in this regard - a whopping 565 items were ordered using our links and these purchases earned Monarch Watch $908.21 - wow! Our totals for 2011 were 2306 items ordered and $3610.33 earned - thank you!

Don't worry, using our links does not affect your pricing at all - you'll be getting the same pricing as you would if you visited the Amazon websites directly. Also, no personal information is tied to purchases; that is, we do not know who made the purchases, only that they were made via the link(s) from our site and therefore in support of our program.

Please help us by spreading the word to friends, family, coworkers, and any other shoppers you can think of - thank you for your continued support!

Visit Amazon via Monarch Watch at monarchwatch.org/amazon

About Monarch Watch
Monarch Watch (www.monarchwatch.org) is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research organization based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its
spectacular migration.

If you have any questions about this email or any of our programs please feel free to contact us anytime.

Thank you for your continued interest and support!

Monarch Watch
www.monarchwatch.org
monarch@ku.edu
 


Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

3 comments:

Birdwoman said...

Good information. I hope your readers will be inspired to become a part of the Monarch network.

Lancashire rose said...

Congratulations on your status as a monarch way station. I don't have milkweed but they stopped by to feast on the gomphrena last year. They are welcome to come again this year.

Jayne said...

Thanks Dorothy -- if any neighbors in my area are interested, I have about a million milkweed seedlings popping up all over the place, lol.