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MONARCH BUTTERFLY + OTHER POLLINATOR ONE-SHEET

6 Aug

BY KRISTEN MOORE

We’ve been able to gather quite a bit of information about pollinators, including Monarchs in the last few years. From raising rescued Monarch caterpillars, observing chrysalis and releasing butterflies we’ve moved to learning about pending legislations and how to help more! Please continue reading to learn basic facts about Monarch butterflies and other pollinators that may surprise you.

The Monarch butterfly seen above was experiencing the first few moments outside of it’s chrysalis. Raising butterflies is a wondrous activity, definitely good for mental health!

Worrying about butterflies and other pollinators is not good for our health, unless it drives us to action. There are many actions we can take to help other species, including pollinators.

New York State just stood up for pollinators by requiring special permits for use of neonicitinoids, nicotine based insecticides; as of January 2023. According to Dan Winter, President of the American Beekeeping Federation; New York is leading the nation with this protection. He is now looking with hope to the EPA to make the same stance on the federal level.

Molly Jacobson, native bee guru from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; developed an amazing pollinator garden webinar that you can utilize in planning your own native pollinator garden. Find Molly’s webinar here.

Between Molly Jacobson and Jim Norwalk of Butterfly Effect Plants in Waterloo, I’ve become quite the native plant nanny! Through Moore Dirty Boots we created/improved four native plant gardens in the Finger Lakes. Plants were welcomed by Earth Eden Farm in North Rose, the Waterloo Public Library, Lodi’s Community Garden and on the east side of Cayuga Lake. We’ve been involved in various conversations about pollinator pathways and various certifications. It is rejuvenating to think of these projects continuing to grow-pun intended!

Here are a few basic facts about Monarch butterflies courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation:

Diet:  Monarchs, like all butterflies, change their diet as they develop. During the caterpillar stage, they live exclusively on milkweed plants. Milkweeds are wildflowers in the genus Asclepias. Milkweeds contain glycoside toxins that are harmless to the monarch but poisonous to its predators. Monarch caterpillars feed on all the different parts of milkweed plants and store up the toxins in their body. The toxins remain in their system even after metamorphosis, thereby making adult monarchs poisonous as well.

Adult monarchs feed on nectar from a wide range of flowers, including milkweeds. 

Typical Lifespan:  Most monarch butterflies do not live more than a few weeks. There are about 3 to 5 generations born each spring and summer and most of the offspring do not live beyond 5 weeks. The lone exception is the last generation born at the end of the summer.

The last generation of each year is the over-wintering generation that must make the journey back to Mexico. Rather than breeding immediately, the over-wintering monarchs fly back to Mexico and stay there until the following spring. In the early spring, they fly north to the southern United States and breed. Over-wintering monarch butterflies can live upwards of 8 months.   

Our dedication to butterflies and pollinators led me to host a POLLINATOR PARTY! this year. All our favorite bee and native plant people and companies were there, including IDEA Collective. We had honey tastings, honey candy, cool educational information, native bees on display and being discovered. Children arriving dressed as bees and butterflies received a special prize-a kit from IDEA Collective! We were so glad to have such a turnout, even though rain was pouring down. We gave away signs the Girl Scouts had made to help support the NYS Pollinator Protection Plan requiring residents and highway departments to work together to protect pollinators beside roadways. These signs have prompted many smiles and it has been really fun to give them away. Two signs left currently!

In addition to sparing milkweed from mowers, one can help butterflies and other pollinators by limiting use of chemicals personally. Sharing your love of pollinators via visual art, social media, writing and more can make an incredible impact! Naturalist and author, Maria Sibylla Merian (4/26/1647-1/13/1717), opened the eyes of the world when she wrote in Latin about the metamorphosis of butterflies.

Two incredible places to view Monarch butterflies in a good year are the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve and the Sterling Nature Center! When we held Butterfly Yoga and other Butterfly Walks in August and September at 1712 Black Brook Road in Seneca Falls, many of us were impressed with numerous butterflies and pollinator habitat. McIntyre Bluffs on the western edge of the Sterling Nature Center has often been a breathtaking stage for Monarch butterflies feeding in the goldenrod in early September.

Lake shore spaces with milkweed are critical for the migrating Monarch butterfly as it travels south from Canada. I’m looking forward to sharing a favorite book about the Monarch’s migration and perhaps a Monarch puzzle from IDEA Collective along the lake shore at the height of Monarch season. I do hope we see more of these amazing butterflies this year. Heat and water shortages affect these small creatures too. A small dish of fresh water can be just what many species need, even butterflies.

Many thanks to everyone who think about pollinators and join in to help however you can!

Kristen

PS A PDF of NYS 2020 Pollinator Protection Plan below: https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/02/pollinatorreport.pdf

Oh, ho, ho December!

14 Dec

The holiday bells are ringing and I’m squeezing a post in while I wait for my car to be serviced. Festive gatherings are making me jubilant and inspired!

As sugary delights taunt me, I’m adding in additional exercise and fun. Socializing and being physically active increase energy unlike the negative effects of too many holiday treats.

At a recent party, another guest revealed that he had followed my blog but he had never received it! It was a friendly reminder to get back here.

Joining the National Audubon Society as an environmental educator this spring has been an exhilarating realization of my work and education. Working with Audubon to achieve our mission to conserve habitats for birds in the face of climate change is tangible work of great value for so many reasons. Delivering educational programming to children and adults at the Seneca Meadows Education Center and Wetlands Preserve is a true delight and honor. Audubon’s work teaching people about birds and how to help them directly achieves the goal I’ve state here; to connect people to the places where we work and play.

A volunteer potluck dinner at the Montezuma Audubon Center this month surpassed my expectations. Guests were surprised with a feast of venison and veggie chilis, chicken french, ordeurves, mashed potatoes and numerous desserts; including cream puffs shaped as swans! We talked about rare bird sightings and favored nature preserves, how fun our field trips are and the latest environmental news. Volunteer work ranges from gardening flower beds, running a store register to setting up and breaking down for events. The opportunities to meet others sharing the same interests and to learn are abundant. MARSH works in the Montezuma Wetlands complex area, while I often arrange events along Lake Ontario’s shore, cleaning beaches and collecting water chestnuts, for example. Working alongside others interested in helping birds, increasing positive feelings of engagement and widening our understanding of issues is proactive.

Many volunteer opportunities are in the warmer seasons but there may still be opportunities to contribute and get outside. Researching these organizations and learning about their work can help us remember Spring will come again!

Another place that protects water quality and provides habitat for wildlife and rescued domestic animals is Cracker Box Palace at Alasa Farms, on the southern shore of Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario. An animal sanctuary situated on a Genesee Land trust property, this historic farm is comprised of diverse lands beside the bay. Over 200 rescued farm animals call this property home, relying on three or four staff members and numerous volunteers. A network of trails is available for visitors to experience protected lands including bay views, forest paths and waterfalls in a stream salmon rely upon.

Amazing places surround us, ripe for our discovery and stewardship. Wild, silly, creative people are all around, yearning to engage-to be involved, be valuable and valued-to share joy. These gifts of the season, I wish for us all.

For those who might need a tangible gift, South Shore Artisans in Fair Haven, NY is full of locally made creations. Drop in to find durable pottery, colorful, joyous paintings, and much more throughout the co-op’s three rooms. Avoiding waste and supporting local artists are actions with more benefit than we may remember. Happy Holidays!

 

Developing Adventures at New Park and Beyond

2 Nov

Feelings of adventure include confidence, doubt, curiosity and informed foresight.  Driven forward by this momentum, I drove to New Park to see what the fuss was all about.

Down the road from Taughanock Falls, this hidden gem of an estate lies behind a long wooden fence.  Arriving promptly for my appointment, Director of Operations, Martin Horn welcomed me warmly and began to describe the grounds.  My ability to speak left me as I observed the surroundings.  Magnificent details shine as part of a whole vision of vitality, excellence and comfort.  A custom glass rendition of the Finger Lakes inside a shower, elated me! Vintage telephones, a telephone booth and fluorescent lit jukebox also captured my attention.

Three sculptures of Jay Seaman accompany guests in an open outdoor area between buildings.

A copper musician plays the trombone in celebration and joy in the garden at New Park.

Jay Seaman’s sculpture appears to catch a ribbon unfurling.

Jay Seaman’s oxidized copper jester sculpture blends into the garden discreetly.

Created by Jamie Kehoe, New Park offers a unique, natural and luxurious venue to enjoy the Finger Lakes in numerous ways.

Event space at New Park Retreat

This welcoming space boasts cozy, woodland views while hosting guests gathering for celebrations, workshops and retreats.

A spectacular site for a destination wedding, New Park Corporate and Wellness Retreat can also meet needs of individuals and small groups.  More than a lodging facility, New Park provides a relaxing space to create memories through active means.  Try paddle boarding, indulge in a wine and cheese seminar amidst a woodland walk or learn about birds, water, African dance or butterflies! Sharing magic, through art, hospitality, education and celebration continues to guide activities at New Park.