My friend Deb buys some tropical milkweed at the Monarch Watch Spring Open House at the University of Kansas on May 9. Monarch Watch Director Chip Taylor, at left in the yellow hat, and many volunteers were busy as the crowd snapped up the pollinator-pleasing annuals and perennials. The sale is a fund-raiser for Monarch Watch and also is a great way for people to introduce plants for pollinators in their gardens.
It’s estimated that 80 percent of the world’s food crops needs to be pollinated. Habitat for pollinators is shrinking every year, while the demand for food increases. Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas in Lawrence is dedicated to promoting education about the biology and conservation of the Monarch butterfly and other pollinators. It works with children of all ages, involving schools, nature centers and other ogranizations. For more information, click on Monarch Watch and Pollinator Partnership on my blogroll. If you buy products from Amazon.com, you can also benefit Monarch Watch by clicking on the amazon portal on the Monarch Watch website to buy. There won’t be an additional cost to you.
The following are photographs from the open house on May 9, except the last one which was taken in my backyard.
These Monarch Butterfly chrysalides look like jade beads, trimmed with a thin stripe of gold leaf. They'll be placed in containers when it's time for the butterflies to emerge. The butterflies are then released, where hopefully they'll find food and habitat. Because of increasing development and changing farming practices, habitat and food sources for Monarchs are rapidly decreasing.
Children have a good time at the open house, where there are plenty of fun science-related activities....and cookies, too! Monarch Watch promotes education about and conservation of pollinating insects and other pollinating animals.
Visitors choose their Monarch Butterfly caterpillars, available for sale when you bought a milkweed plant. There were dozens of caterpillars munching away on milkweed in the white tub.
These Monarch caterpillars await adoption. People who bought milkweed plants could also buy caterpillars to take home to live on the newly purchased milkweed plants in their gardens.
Monarch Butterflies are busy in the mating enclosure.
A Monarch Butterfly says hello to a young visitor.
This honey bee dropped by the open house to visit some chive blossoms in the pollination garden.
Monarch Butterflies weren't the only stars of the open house. Here are some silkworms.
Honey bees thrive in a hive at Monarch Watch headquarters, which is on the west campus of the University of Kansas.
The Monarch Watch open house offered a wide range of annual and perennial nectar and food plants for butterflies and caterpillars.
Not just caterpillars turn into butterflies.
The Monarch Watch pollination garden is planted to attract and feed butterflies, bees and other pollinators, but it attracted me, too. Isn't it lucky that plants for pollinators are also beautiful!
Here's "Reggie," the Monarch caterpillar I bought, at home on a milkweed in my garden.
Monarch Watch director Orley “Chip” Taylor is one of the scientists interviewed in this article from National Geographic about the Monarch Butterfly migration. Internal Clock Leads Monarch Butterflies to Mexico. Dr. Taylor is also featured in the New York Times video above.