The middle of March is a time when those who grow weary of the winter doldrums start to anticipate the early signs of spring. Celebrations abound for St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day. In a decades-old tradition, the Chicago River will be dyed green on Saturday, followed by the step-off of one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country.
While parades and galas are well known, another sure sign of warmer weather is also observed at this time…
World Butterfly Day is March 14th
Eastern Monarch butterflies start to leave their Mexican wintering grounds to begin a journey that takes four-months and three-generations to get to northern breeding grounds. This area stretches across the entire continental United States and into Canada, east of the Rocky Mountains. By the way, Western Monarch butterflies winter in Southern California and spread to an area of the country west of the Rockies.
Like many other insects, the population of Monarchs has been in decline for years. A meaningful increase in population counts is providing hope this year, though by no means does it represent a recovery.
It is easy to help Monarchs and other pollinators… plant native milkweed and nectar plants. Milkweed is the only plant where Monarch butterflies lay eggs and the only leaves that Monarch caterpillars eat. Once a butterfly, Monarchs sip on the nectar of any other butterfly attracting plant.
As the weather turns to spring and then summertime, be sure to keep an eye out for the flutter of a paper-winged butterfly. If you see Milkweed, let it grow and perhaps it will become a nursery for Monarchs!
Enjoy this Monarch site from Journey North- Monarch Butterflies, Tracking Migrations and Seasons and let me know what you think about Monarchs and other pollinators!
~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix
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