F-M area Girl Scout Brownie Troop 10981 planted 25 Swamp Milkweed plugs at Mill Run Park on May 9 to create habitat for Monarch butterflies a species that has lost over 90 percent of its population in the last three decades. (submitted photo)
Girl Scout Brownie Troop 10981 from Fayetteville-Manlius completed a Take Action project on May 9 at Mill Run Park in the Village of Manlius. With the permission of the Village’s Superintendent of Public Works, this troop of 15 Brownie Girl Scouts from Mott Road and Enders Road Elementary Schools planted 25 Swamp Milkweed plugs in order to create habitat for Monarch butterflies, a species that has lost over 90 percent of its population in the last three decades.
The girls want to raise awareness of this project in order to inspire others to plant native milkweed in their backyard gardens. According to the Monarch Joint Venture, Monarch butterflies need milkweed to survive. Their caterpillars only eat milkweed, and Monarchs need to lay their eggs on milkweed plants.
“Planting milkweed is easy,” said one troop member, “but you have to plant it where no one will spray weed-killing chemicals so that the plants can survive.”
It is important to obtain permission from the administrator of a park before planting milkweed. Some parks only allow planting of seeds/shoots that have been germinated from within the park’s borders. It may be easier for individual homeowners to plant milkweed in their own backyard.
Those who rent a home or live in an apartment can ask their landlord to help create a space that will not be sprayed by weed killers in order to ensure that the milkweed plants survive.
There are many places from which an interested person can purchase native milkweed seeds or plugs. Troop 10981 purchased their milkweed plants from Plantsmen Nursery in Groton. The Monarch Joint Venture provides information on creating habitat for Monarch butterflies online at monarchjointventure.org/get-involved/create-habitat-for-monarchs.
In order to view the milkweed planted by Troop 10981 — and perhaps some Monarch butterflies when the plants grow bigger — enter Mill Run Park from the Whetstone Road entrance and head towards the right on the trail. The milkweed has been planted along the edge of the trail.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.