Here is information from the Texas Butterfly Ranch about a way we can help monitor the monarch population (which has been reported to be dwindling). I am very excited for my family to start trying this!
Great job of weeding and trimming... What a heap we left by the trash barrel! Thanks to everyone who helped and to Zonnette Yvonne for preparing a report and folder for volunteers on tagging Monarch butterflies. Surprises today - an Easter egg among the overgrown mums, a hummingbird feeding on salvia and a variety of butterflies.
The Matzke Park Butterfly Garden Project is an ongoing project of the Norchester Garden Club. It is managed by the Butterfly Committee and maintained by garden club members to create a positive leisure and learning experience for residents of the Norchester Subdivision and surrounding communities. Garden club and community volunteers along with Harris County Precinct 4 have participated in accomplishing some of the following this year:
* Workdays - official and independent - to weed, trim, and mulch * Web site postings including "Plant of the Week" * Plant Exchange called "Givers, Takers and Flower Bed Makers" * Fire ant control * Garden signs - three juvenile signs designed, fabricated and installed * Lady Bug Release and Workday * Irrigation monitoring and repair * Moss rock purchased and placed around fence row bed * Children's Educational Program * Planting purchased and donated plants * Garden Party planned and hosted by Zonettes * Planning meeting, dinner and film "The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies" for Zone Leaders who focus on maintenance of an area of the butterfly garden and Zonettes who help randomly such as their honoring of Zone Leaders at the Garden Party * Butterfly Garden Committee Luncheon * Grant from the Native Plant Society of Texas * Butterfly Watering Sandpits
Sandpits have been built which will give butterflies two spots in our garden to perch and sip. This was installed at the south fence with the help of three missionaries who were passing by last Saturday morning. The other is at the north fence and both are near the faucets.
Monarch project announces garden grants By Julie Allen on April 8, 2014 The Native Plant Society of Texas is awarding $7500 in small grants to 36 community gardens around the state to fund planting of Monarch butterfly habitat. The grants were announced April 4 by Cathy Downs, chair of the Society’s Bring Back the Monarch to Texas project.
This is the second year that the grants have been awarded to schools, nature centers and other organizations in order to create demonstration gardens or “Monarch Waystations” with habitat for the migrating Monarchs. The grants may only be used to pay for native milkweeds or native butterfly nectar plants. The application process for grants is described here.
“These gardens will not only raise awareness of the plight of the Monarch Butterfly, they also demonstrate the importance of our native plants to the life cycle of the Monarch and other wildlife species,” said Native Plant Society president Bill Hopkins. “We encourage homeowners to incorporate these plants into their own landscapes.”
Texas provides critical habitat on the primary migration pathway of Monarchs to their wintering grounds in Mexico, according to Cathy Downs. The availability of native milkweed host plants, which is necessary to assure successive generations continuing north, has declined in Texas. Herbicide-tolerant crops, mowing of roadsides, parks and open areas and continued drought have all had an impact on the number of Monarchs surviving the southern journey to Mexico. Recently released population estimates for the Monarchs over-wintering in Mexico report the butterfly numbers to be at an extremely low level this year.
The Bring Back the Monarch to Texas project was established two years ago by the Native Plant Society of Texas to raise public awareness for Monarch Butterfly conservation, to produce and distribute milkweeds that support reproduction by Monarch butterflies and to restore Monarch habitat throughout the Texas migration flyway. The project works with Monarch Watch to grow native milkweed and make it more available. Monarch Watch is an educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas that engages citizen scientists in large-scale research projects. Monarch Watch provided some of the funding for the garden grant program. Additional funds were raised by Native Plant Society chapters and some came through generous individual gifts.
Cathy Downs and other volunteers in the Bring Back the Monarch to Texas project are available for presentations at schools, garden clubs and other organizations. Contact our State Office for more information.
Organizations receiving grants in Spring 2014
Grapevine Garden Club Grapevine
Rio Grande Valley Chapter TMN San Benito
Linden Garden Club Lindem
Clear Lake Shores Civic Club Clear Lake Shores
St. Christopher Episcopal Church League City
Garden Oaks Elementary School Houston
Hunt County Master Gardeners Greeville
Dallas County Master Gardeners Dallas
Johnson County Herb Society Crowley
Faith Lutheran Church Flower Mound
Norchester Garden Club Houston
Texas Panhandle Audubon Society Amarillo
First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church Forth Worth
Kindercare Learning Center Fort Worth
Oak Hill Elementary PTA Austin
Children in Nature Network North Tx. Region Fort Worth
Smithville Public Library Smithville
City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Dept. New Braunfels