Will There be Monarch Butterflies in Our Meadow This Summer?

It is likely we will see some Monarchs this summer, and maybe even some caterpillars and chrysalises, but there is no guarantee this will happen.  If it does, we will have a nice crop of Milkweed and other flowering native plants to sustain them.  You probably know that Milkweed is the only plant that Monarchs will lay their eggs on, and it is the only source of food for Monarch caterpillars.  You probably also know that much of our food supply comes from corn and soy mass produced with the aid of industrial herbicides that have decimated Milkweed (and Monarchs) from many of our farms.  Like many areas, Delaware has given up much of our farm land to development, and this makes the Monarch’s survival even more tenuous.  My hope is we will see Monarchs this summer, but my worry is that one of these years they won’t be around anymore.

The science of the Monarch is fascinating, but it’s the actual seeing of the butterfly, the eggs, the caterpillars and the chrysalises, that I find most delightful. It’s an amazing experience for kids and families, too.   I’ll make sure to post any pictures, but you’ll have to venture out into our meadow for the real experience.  A Monarch might land on your brightly colored shirt.  Pictures are nice, but ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.  I’m always around Wednesdays 5:30 to 7:00 PM, and I would be happy to show you around and share what I know about this lovely and fascinating creature.

You don’t have to help maintain the meadow to enjoy it, but you might find some peace and joy just by being in the meadow.  We won’t see any Monarchs until probably June, but there’s a lot of other creatures and interesting plants that our meadow is host to.  I saw a beautiful black snake while taking a walk the other day on one of the new paths we have cut through some of the tall grasses.  This was the first snake I have ever seen at Mill Creek, so I take that as a sign we are doing something good for the environment.  My guess is there are also other animals finding a safe haven in our little meadow.

I hope we see Monarchs in our meadow this spring and summer, and I hope we see you there, too.

— Jamie Kegerise