Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mighty Monarchs at Greener Village

This year has been an incredibly exciting year already, from the new greenhouse fronts to the planting season being well underway, but one of the things we're most excited to introduce is our Mighty Monarch Raise and Release program.


Butterfly house before cleaning
Many members of the Fredericton community remember the butterfly house which was previously run by Green Village Nurseries. After many years of hoping and waiting, we're finally able to re-vamp the space and turn it into an ideal Monarch raising habitat.We'd definitely like to thank our partners at Nature NB, as well as the Environmental Trust Fund for making this a reality. Our goal this year is to raise 400 Monarch butterflies, tag them, and have them released for their 4,000 km journey to Mexico where they will hibernate for the winter. Several steps have already been taken to make this goal a reality.

First, we cleaned out the butterfly house with a huge amount of help from the Sunrise Rotary Club and the Douglas Street Baptist Church. There was a lot of overgrown space in the structure, as well as old torn screening, wood, and thousands of staples. As of Wednesday the 24th the space has been completely cleaned out and is ready to be screened-in (1400 feet to go!). To help screen in the space we're asking community members to bring in any old screens (in or out of the frame is fine) as well as small aquariums that aren't being used. The small
After cleaning!
aquariums will be used to house the smaller monarch caterpillars until they're strong enough to move into their outdoor permanent enclosures. We'd like to send out a very special thank-you to the Sunrise Rotary Club for building and sponsoring the permanent habitats which will be used every year.

In addition to the work that was done on the greenhouses we've also been raising 600 milkweed plants (read about those here) to feed our caterpillars and to provide seeds to the community. We will be keeping our milkweed seed-saving program going every year in the hopes that the Fredericton community will plant their own milkweed and increase the natural habitat of the Monarch. Our Greener Village flowerbeds have also been filled with butterfly-friendly flowers to feed any early-arriving Monarchs and to feed our own butterflies that have been raised on the grounds.


Waystation signs are on their way!
Finally, we've been recognized as a Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch (check the program out here) which means that we've met the requirements to be a suitable Monarch butterfly habitat. Greener Village is proud to be an Extra Large habitat, meaning that our total butterfly area is just under 5000 square feet. We're very happy to be a part of this program and are eager to share the details of this with the community!

For more information on the Monarch and its status as a species of special concern, have a look here. This is an amazing species that could be eliminated at any time, and New Brunswick is crucial to its sustainability.

Happy gardening!

Brandi


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