We manage land to support pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Pollinators spread the pollen of plants that provide the foundation of the food chain, feeding wildlife and humans. Pollinators are, themselves, food as well.
A Focus on Monarch Butterflies
Here at Delaware Nature Society, monarch butterflies matter.
The monarch butterfly has always been a special part of our animal diversity in North America and we want to do everything we can to ensure their numbers return and thrive.
Monarch Butterflies are In Trouble
Their numbers have been declining in the last several years over much of their North American range.
Why They’re Declining
There are multiple reasons for this decline, including the loss of open meadow habitat that monarch butterflies depend upon for food and successful reproduction. They need habitat – flowers and milkweed – across their migration path, including here in Delaware.
How We’re Helping
Most of the meadow areas at the locations we operate – Ashland Nature Center, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, Coverdale Farm Preserve, and DuPont Environmental Education Center – are managed for biodiversity and clean water and thus provide monarch butterflies with the plants they need to survive. Native flowering plants and milkweeds, such as those listed at right, thrive in our fields. We use carefully-timed mowing, controlled burning, and supplemental seeding to increase the amount of milkweed and other flowers that support pollinators in our meadows. Learn about our work on the Monarch Highway Habitat Project.
How You Can Help
Plant Milkweed Plants
Milkweed is very important for monarch caterpillars, which feed only on the leaves of the milkweed plant and monarch butterflies lay eggs on their leaves.
Support monarch butterflies with native varieties we recommend:
- common milkweed (Asclepias syriaia)
- swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnate)
- butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberose)
Buy these plants each spring at our annual:
Plant Flowering Plants
Flowering plants provide food (nectar) for the adult monarch butterflies as they migrate through our area in spring and fall.
Support pollinators – plant flowering plants such as:
- brown-eyed Susans
- Joe-Pye weed
Buy these plants each spring at our annual sale:
Eat Sustainably-grown Food
Sustainable food-growing practices, like those we use in the CSA fields of Coverdale Farm can help more milkweed and pollinator-friendly wildflowers grow. It also helps ensure that they’re safe for pollinators to eat.
Spread the Word
(image courtesy pollinator.org)