The Monarch Alliance News
SEPTEMBER 2017 Newsletter
THE MIGRATION: The fall migration to Mexico has begun. It began up north in Ontario and we are still a few days from it reaching our area. Because of the weather forecast, we cancelled tagging for our area, except for Discovery Station. We still have a full September schedule of tagging in Washington County and in WV starting next Saturday. You can go to the Potomac Valley Audubon Society’s website at www.potomacaudubon.org to get our full schedule or check the local media. The migration will proceed in our area throughout September. Afterwards, we will still get monarchs passing through but in smaller numbers and they might not make it to Mexico as cold weather closes in. Monarchs begin reaching the Mexican sanctuaries by the end of October/beginning of November.
FALL MILKWEED AND NATIVE PLANT SALE: It’s September 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sunny Meadows Garden Center. This year, we will have Whorled Milkweed, as well as Butterfly Weed and Swamp Milkweed. Come at 10 a.m. to make sure you get some.
THE TMA GRANT COMMITTEE: This is great news for our organization. We are raising enough money to begin a Grant Committee that can provide funds for new Monarch Waystations. The emphasis will be on educational institutions, schools, nature centers, parks. We will have $3000 to give to the grant committee for calendar year 2018. We will begin advertising the grants in September and grants can begin next spring in time for our spring plant sale. I am hoping that between our plant sales and by running a Crowd Rise online donation site each year, we will be able to give the grant committee $3000 each year and also finance other projects. Tracy McCleaf will be in charge of the committee.
OUR NEW WEBSITE: Brittany Wedd has developed a fabulous new website for TMA. If you haven’t done so already, please check it out at www.themonarchalliance.org.
DISCOVERY STATION MONARCH ACTIVITIES: Discovery Station is one of my favorite Hagerstown organizations. They have jumped aboard the Monarch bandwagon. The Lion’s Club of Hagerstown donated a beautiful monarch rearing cage to Discovery Station and Brittany Wedd is keeping it chock full of monarch caterpillars. She just started tagging the monarchs that are eclosing. TMA set up posters and handout material next to the rearing cage to tell the migration story, which is located right where you walk in. Great exposure for our cause. Check it out.
MOWING AND HERBICIDES ON PUBLIC WAYS IN WASHINGTON COUNTY: We have formed a committee of Ann Aldrich, Jeff Unsworth, Vicki Souders and myself to work on protecting rights of way in Washington County. This will be a winter project. We have held one meeting and have contacts to work on. We will keep you informed.
FORT FREDERICK STATE PARK PROJECT: As you know, we raised $2200 for Fort Frederick. There are two five acre parcels covered in meadows of mixed grasses that we will be converting to a warm season environment. We will begin with one of the meadows by planting 500 milkweed and native plants on September 17. Anyone wanting to help should contact me at or 240-291-6465. Next spring, we will plant another 500 native plants in the same meadow. We will use a mowing regime to move the grasslands into a warm season environment. The $2200 we raised on Crowd Rise will cover just the first meadow. We will have to raise more funds for the second meadow in the future. We have been consulting with Monarch Joint Venture about doing a webinar on this work.
SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY: We have been working with Shepherd University on two projects. The first is a Monarch Waystation near the Environmental Science Building. The second is a fascinating project on the SU farm, five minutes away from the campus. The farm will be used for a new Agricultural program for military veterans to teach them useful skills. The farm site will include a solar array to provide electricity for much of Shepherdstown. We will be working with the university on a project to install milkweed and native plants between the arrays. This idea is part of a national effort in the “all hands on deck” approach to plant for monarch butterflies. Ann Aldrich is part of this effort.
ROSE HILL CEMETERY: James Dillon and I met with Rose Hill Cemetery, the historical cemetery in Hagerstown. The Executive Director of the cemetery wants to create a Monarch Waystation in one of the 500 square feet circles at the new Cremation unit. The site will be along Potomac Street and should be beautiful. Afterwards, we met with the Clear Spring Garden Club regarding plants for the Therapy Garden at West Washington Hospital Center and a park in Clear Spring. We also have ongoing discussions with the County Parks Department, which will be committing between $500 and $1000 a year to our waystation program in Washington County. As you know, this spring, we did a garden at Camp Harding near Clear Spring. In addition, we have worked with the Town of Hancock on a Monarch Waystation.
JUNIOR MONARCH ALLIANCE: We have been working with Jim Jenkins, the science teacher at North Jefferson Elementary School, about the Junior Monarch Alliance Club. He recently invited me to address a school assembly about the fall migration and tagging monarchs. He says the assembly has drawn new members into the JMA Club which may double in size. We want to get 60 children to NCTC to conduct monarch tagging this month with Tracy McCleaf . We have also discussed with Jim our grant program and he is developing ideas for a significant expansion of their monarch waystation.
MEMBERS WITH MONARCHS! I wanted to add a final note to this newsletter to mention that many of you have sent me pictures of monarch caterpillars on your milkweed. It is heartening to know that what we are doing, what you are doing, is paying off for you. Keep up the good work. I should note that this is supposed to be a very good year for monarchs so I hope you don’t get disappointed in the future.