Monarch butterflies and other Marvelous Mariposas

Did you come to the Marvelous Mariposas program at the library?  Studio 300 has turned your photos into fantastic butterfly pictures, which you can see on their Flickr page:

Monarch butterflies are really struggling as a species right now.  Since 1992, the number of Monarch butterflies has gone down by about 90%.  Lots of people (including people in Bolingbrook!) are trying to help Monarch butterflies by planting milkweed seeds.  Milkweed plants are the only food young Monarchs can eat, and they are also where adults usually lay their eggs.

If you made a seedbomb during the program– or collected seeds, bought them, or picked up free ones at Village Hall (on the counter in the Finance Department)— now is the easiest time to plant them.  If you plant milkweed in the spring, you have to take extra steps to chill the seeds first.  If you plant it in the fall, you can skip that part.

Here are instructions from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on Fall Planting:

Fall is the best time for planting milkweed seeds.  The seeds won’t germinate until spring because they require natural freezing and thawing to soften the seed coat so that the embryo plant can grow.  This process stops seedlings from emerging in the fall and being killed by winter cold.  You can plant the seeds from September 1 up until the soil freezes.  Prepare your soil by removing existing vegetation, if present, and loosen soil with a rake.  You may want to add some compost, if you have any available.  Scatter the seeds and use your rake to gently work them into the soil.  They will come up in spring when conditions are right for them to grow.

If you check the Pinterest page shared at the top of this blog article, you can find handouts and books with more information about Monarch butterflies and milkweed.  There are also photos from the program at the library and examples of the crafts we made.

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