The Monarch Alliance News

April 2017 Newsletter

MONARCH PROGRAM AND MILKWEED SALE: It’s time to order your milkweed for the year.  We have 176 Butterfly Weed plants and just 17 Swamp Milkweed plants left.  You should have at least 10 milkweed plants of two varieties in your Monarch Waystation.  The milkweed should be looking great this year and will be in quart containers for just $5 per plant.  THIS IS ONE OF OUR FUNDRAISERS AND A GREAT WAY TO SUPPORT MONARCH BUTTERFLIES.


You can buy your milkweed on the City of Hagerstown’s website at  And you can pick up the plants at Kiwanis Park the day of our Monarch Educational Program on May 20 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.


We will have experts on hand to discuss this years monarch migration (see below), how to install a monarch waystation, and a children’s table that includes monarch face painting.


I hope to see lots of you out there.


Then the following week you can buy your perennial nectar plants at Sunny Meadows Garden Center on Sharpsburg Pike on May 27 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  This is a new event based on the success of last year’s fall sale at Sunny Meadows.  Our plant specialists – James Dillon, Ann Aldrich and Larry Stritch, went over the plant list from last year and improved it.  You can buy all the plants that we have at Kiwanis Park and more.  THIS WILL ALSO BE A FUNDRAISER, SO COME AND SPEND MONEY FOR MONARCHS.  The plants will be in quart containers at $5 per container.




It has been an amazing year for monarchs so far!  Time will tell how successful the migration will be.  Here is a summary of what has gone on:  The monarchs started dribbling out of Mexico in early March.  The big migration come around the time of the spring equinox, March 20.  But by early April, there we still clusters of monarchs in some of the reserves.


The monarchs started hitting Texas around mid-March.  People in Texas reporting seeing substantial numbers of monarchs and egg laying.  Sort of a record busting spring.  Then strong winds carried the monarchs north beyond Oklahoma and into what is commonly thought of as the summer breeding area.  This occurred in late March and April.  The monarchs spread throughout much of the summer breeding area, some to places before the milkweed emerged to support the female egg laying.  I have seen pictures of monarchs “dumping” eggs on milkweed shortly after it has emerged from the ground.  Undoubtedly, many of the cats that emerge from these milkweeds will not survive.


Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch, says that the numbers of monarchs that arrive in Mexico each year are largely determined by the success of the spring breeding season in Texas and Oklahoma.  But he has also said that the weather forecasts for the year look pretty good.  So where does that leave us?  We will have to see.  The cats that develop this spring in the northern breeding areas will probably take a hit, possibly compensated by favorable weather for the year.


It is another story why there were so many monarchs reaching Texas this spring.  Talk to me at the Monarch Educational Program on May 20, and I’ll tell you.



Being part of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society has its advantages.  We were able to hold our Annual Meeting at the FWS National Conservation Training Center because of PVAS.  What appeared to be the start of lousy weather turned into a respectable day.  We began with an early morning bird walk, then moved to one of the classrooms for a program I gave on the monarch migration and then had lunch at the NCTC commons, a beautiful building with great food and terrific prices.  We had about 25 people signed up for the program.



Just in April, we have done a Science Olympiad at North Jefferson Elementary School, a Junior Monarch Alliance Program there, (Discovery Station also did a Junior Monarch Alliance Program in April), the Rotary World Affairs Seminar (for WV high school students) at NCTC, and an Arbor Day celebration at Kiwanis Park.  Ann Payne had a Green Expo exhibit in Middletown the end of April.


In addition, Ann Alrich and I have been working with the Washington County Parks Department on a Monarch Waystation at Camp Harding at Big Pool, have had discussions with Maryland State Highways, and Chris Tawney and I have looked over a possible meadow project on C&O Canal propery near Clearspring.  


May is also turning into a busy time of the year, with a high school Environmental Expo program in Frederick county, Greenfest in Boonsboro, a program at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Williamsport, and our milkweed sale and educational program at Kiwanis Park and Sunny Meadows the end of May.



I just saw the City of Hagerstown’s Cultural Trail yesterday.  James Dillon has been working with Rodney Tissue the City Engineer on a Monarch Waystation there.  The Cultural Trail is beautiful beyond words and the waystation isn’t even completed yet.  Head out there and take a look.


That’s all for now.  Have a great spring and come to our May 20 program at Kiwanis Park.  AND BUY MILKWEED and PERENNIALS.  We don’t raise money so these fund raisers are important for us.


Sandy Sagalkin

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