Nothing makes me happier than to see schools, community organizations, and others get behind a good cause. Take monarch butterflies, for example. It's no secret that I'm a fan of them, and of other pollinating creatures, and have been writing about them for a few years. We often have them in our garden, which is extremely butterfly/pollinator friendly, and many times I've sat mesmerized watching adults emerging from the chrysalis.
Recently, The Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute established a 'butterfly club' to encourage gardeners to grow swamp milkweed, (Asclepias incarnata) one of many milkweeds (but only two natives in NS, the other being A. syriaca) that monarch butterflies feed on in their larval stage. Without milkweeds, there are no monarchs. And there are problems in monarch populations, so every little bit we gardeners can do to help them is a good thing.
I'm especially delighted that schools are now getting into the act and planting butterfly gardens to help encourage the breeding and survival of monarchs (and other butterflies). One such school is Clark Rutherford Memorial School in Cornwallis, one of a handful of Nova Scotian schools that has earned the Earth School status through the Green Schools Canada program. I haven't yet been to the school or seen their garden, but I hope to visit sometime later this fall or else next spring. The school is participating in the Marvelous Monarch Migration Festival, happening this coming weekend throughout Southwestern Nova Scotia. Maybe you'll get a chance to take in some of the activities if you're in our area.
Have the monarchs started migrating in your area? I haven't seen any real numbers around here. I think the hummingbirds have finally left for warmer climates, but we're keeping the feeder up for a few days yet.
Because migrations or fall flowers or weather notwithstanding, I'm still in De Nile. I'm building a houseboat for those of you who wish to join me in that cruise.