By Peggy Farabaugh

Did you know Vernon is well on its way to becoming a Monarch Waystation? In June, a group of nature lovers got together on the back deck of Vermont Woods Studios and shared milkweed seeds and plants (milkweed is the Monarch’s only food source and the use of RoundUp has nearly eliminated it from today’s landscape). We are planting milkweed in our gardens and backyards with the goal of providing habitat that will bring Monarchs back to Vermont. If you would like to join us, please let me know. I have plenty of milkweed seeds and plants for anyone who would like to plant them.

I also have 20 tiny little Monarch caterpillars who are looking for foster parents willing to rear them. Would you like to be a foster parent for a Monarch? Many of you will remember Carol Richardson who introduced Vernon’s kindergarteners to Monarch rearing every Fall for many years. What a wonderful teacher she was! In those days, Monarchs were abundant and Carol would bring several caterpillars into the classroom in late August/early September. The kids would watch them transform from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly over the span of a couple weeks.

That was only about 15 years ago and now there are no caterpillars to be found. It is hard to believe that man could wipe out a species so quickly after nature invested 50 million years in the making. But there is hope! We obtained several caterpillars from Dr. Chip Taylor at the University of Kansas. Dr. Taylor has created MonarchWatch, an organization that is dedicated to bringing the beautiful orange and black butterfly back from the brink of extinction. Stop by the old Pine Top Ski area, now Vermont Woods Studios at 538 Huckle Hill Rod, to pick up a couple caterpillars if you would like to help bring this species back. You can connect with us on Facebook or email me (peggy@VermontWoodsStudios.com) if you are interested.

Photo credit: “Monarch In May” by Kenneth Dwain Harrelson. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.