Tag Archives: Bucks Audubon

MONARCHS (AND OTHER BUTTS) IN THE JOE-PYE!

Why do we plant Joe-pye Weed? Especially a plant with a common name that ends in Weed?

Because it is beloved by every pollinator in the hood!

Let me count the Ways – a nectar plant for Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, American Ladies, Monarchs, all manner of bees, and many more beneficial insects!

Joe-pye Weed is a native wildflower and wonderfully easy to grow. It does best in full sun, but will tolerate some shade and the blooms last longer in part shade. The plant does prefer average to moist soil, but if planted in dryer conditions, provide shade and water.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation, or becoming an underwriter, to bring our Monarch Butterfly documentary Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly to American Public Television. To Learn More go here and to DONATE go here.  For the latest update with PBS, please go here: Over the Moon. Thank you!

OVER THE MOON!

Dear Monarch Friends,

I hope so much everyone is doing well. For Cape Ann, tropical storm Henri brought lots of rain but south of us, some of you were hard hit. I hope your homes and businesses weren’t damaged. It’s been a strange summer in more ways than one. The upside to having a broken leg has been spending more time with my family, as well as all the beautiful pollinators in our little garden, both of which give such joy so no complaints here 🙂

The results of American Public Television’s Summer offer to Public Television Stations across the country were tallied. We are simply over the Moon with the results. Beauty on the Wing had one of the highest ratings ever. The documentary is going to be shown in 9 out of 10 of the nation’s major markets and 23 out of the top 25.  What does this mean exactly? 267 PBS stations voted YES, 44 stations voted MAYBE, and only 15 stations voted NO. The YES votes cover 88.5 percent of American homes, and the MAYBES and NOS may still change their minds! Beauty is going to be airing from New York to Los Angeles (the two top markets) and everywhere in between! This is wonderful for Monarchs, for our community, for New England, and for pollinator habitats everywhere!

Everyone who receives these updates has generously contributed to Beauty on the Wing and/or supported the film in some manner or another. Please Generous Contributors, I am not asking for further monetary contributions. I am already overwhelmed by your kind generosity and support. What I am hoping you may be able to help with is to think about worthy organizations, businesses, or foundations that you are affiliated with or know about that would be interested in becoming an underwriter.

When you view a show on PBS and the announcer says, this show was brought to you by the following …, these people and organizations are underwriters. Each and every time that Beauty on the Wing airs, underwriters will be promoted at both the beginning and end of the program. Becoming an underwriter for Beauty on the Wing is a wonderful way to let people know about a business, foundation, or organization, on a national platform. We have a very positive letter from APT to share with possible underwriters. So please think about all this and email me if you have any suggestions. I am happy to provide the station results from American Public Television, along with APT’s Underwriting Guidelines.

On another positive note, we are having a truly phenomenal year for Monarchs, not just on Cape Ann, but in regions throughout the butterfly’s northern breeding grounds. These population spikes seem to happen about every ten years or so. The last time Cape Ann was blessed with so many Monarchs was in 2012. Let’s keep our hopes up that the current beauties cavorting in our gardens, meadows, and dunes will make it all the way to Mexico and we’ll see an improvement in population counts at the butterfly’s wintering grounds in Cerro Pelon and El Rosario.

Happy August Butterfly Days!

xoKim

With heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the following for their generous support in helping to bring Beauty on the Wing to public television – 

Lauren Mercadante, Jonathan and Sally Golding, James Masciarelli, Pete and Bobbi Kovner, Joeann Hart and Gordon Baird, Karrie Klaus (Boston), Sally Jackson, Marion Frost (Ipswich), Joy Van Buskirk (Florida), Lillian and Craig Olmstead, Suki and Fil Agusti (Rockport), Janis Bell, Nina Groppo, Nubar Alexanian, Marguerite Matera, Claudia Bermudez, Thomas Hauck, Judith Foley (Woburn), Jane Paznik-Bondarin (New York), Paul Vassallo (Beverly), Stella Martin, Liv Hauck (California), Julia Williams Robinson (Minnesota), Cynthia Dunn, Diane Gustin, Heidi Shiver (Pennsylvania), John Ronan, Karen Maslow, Fernando Arriaga (Mexico City), Holly Nipperus (Arizona), Kristina Gale (California), Maggie Debbie, Kate and Peter Van Demark (Rockport), Mia Nehme (Beverly), Chicki Hollet, Alice Gardner (Beverly), Therese Desmarais (Rockport), Jennie Meyer, Kathy Gerdon Archer (Beverly), Melissa Weigand (Salem), Duncan Todd (Lexington), Catherine Ryan, Linda Bouchard (Danvers), Elaine Mosesian, Paul Wegzyn (Ipswich), Catherine Bayliss, Alessandra Borges (Rhode Island), Jan Waldman (Swampscott), Carolyn Constable (Pennsylvania), Nancy Mattern (New Mexico), Ian Gardiner, Judy Arisman, Tom Schaefer, Margaret Thompson

Please consider making a tax deductible donation, or becoming an underwriter, to bring our Monarch Butterfly documentary Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly to American Public Television. To Learn More go here and to DONATE go here. Thank you!

From APT – “Congratulations! This is a wonderful response to this beautiful, well produced and educational nature program. The stunning scenery from the coast of New England to the heart of Mexico makes it an excellent program for children as well as nature lovers of all ages. This voting clearly shows that program managers across the country are confident that Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly will resonate with their viewing audiences.”

YES and MAYBES in the Top 25 Markets

  • WNET in New York #1
  • KOCE/KCET in Los Angeles #2
  • WTTW in Chicago #3
  • WHYY in Philadelphia #4
  • KQED in San Francisco #6
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting #7
  • KUHT in Houston #8
  • WETA in Washington, DC #9
  • KAET in Phoenix #11
  • KCTS in Seattle #12
  • WEDU in Tampa #13
  • WTVS in Detroit #15
  • KRMA in Denver #16
  • WUCF in Orlando #17
  • WPBT in Miami #18
  • WVIZ in Cleveland #19
  • KVIE in Sacramento #20
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting #21
  • WTVI in Charlotte #22
  • KETC in St. Louis #23

MAYBE

  • UNC-TV #24
  • WFYI in Indianapolis #25

MORE MONARCH BABES ON THE WAY!

More teenies found in the garden!  I thought we had seen the last Monarch eggs but while cutting milkweed in the garden for the larger caterpillars, we found four more!  I can’t recall when was the last time I saw this many Monarchs in our garden and in meadows.

For your daily Monarch photo, today we have a range of Monarchs in our garden in different stages, from minuscule first instars to J-shapes readying to pupate to an old worn out boy winding down.

1st Instar

3rd Instar

J-shape readying to pupate

Chrysalis

Newly emerged zipping together proboscis

Female newly emerged drying wet wings and readying for take off

An old boy – note his tattered and fading wings

Please consider making a tax deductible donation, or becoming an underwriter, to bring our Monarch Butterfly documentary Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly to American Public Television. To Learn More go here and to DONATE go here. Thank you!

 

 

Wonderful press for “Beauty on the Wing” from Pennsylvania! From the Ground Up: Preserving beauty on the wing

From the Ground Up: Preserving beauty on the wing

I want to share with you an email that I received in response to my column last week in which I reviewed a new book, by Sara Dykman, titled “Bicycling with Butterflies.” (2021, Timber Press)

The reader wrote:

“I read your article today about monarchs. My wife and I recently saw a film created over a several year period by Kim Smith. It has won many awards as listed on her website. It was sponsored by local environmental groups and others for a local showing via Zoom. I thought I knew everything about the monarch, but her video of the life cycle was amazing, with incredible detail.” (The film is tentatively scheduled to air on PBS in February 2022.)

I clicked on the website link provided (see below), and discovered that it contains a short, free video designed for children, titled, “The Marvelous Magnificent Migrating Monarch.” The detail of the close-ups of the various stages of the monarch’s life-cycle is captivating, and a young child featured in the video demonstrates how easy it is to make a monarch habitat to be able to observe and help restore the number of monarchs in the wild. The message is that anyone can raise monarchs, even pre-schoolers.

As I mentioned in my previous column, helping monarchs is really as simple as planting monarch-sustaining milkweed plants, along with other native, nectar plants. Milkweed is the only plant that monarchs feed on. There are many species, and it’s important to plant the ones suited to this area. The best ones for the Delaware Valley are Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Swamp Milkweed has lavender-pink flowers and a lovely evening fragrance. It can grow fairly large, and works well in a stand-alone planting bed or in a naturalized border. With its bright orange or yellow flowers and more refined habit, Butterfly Weed is a knockout in any flower bed or container.

Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

A monarch “habitat” only really needs to comes into play if you want to go the next step — and if you want to get up close to nature. All that is required — in addition to some care and curiosity — is a large aquarium with a screen cover, some cheesecloth, a glass jar with a lid (make holes in the lid), and water. When you find monarch caterpillars on your milkweed, cut the stem they are on, and place it through the holes in the jar lid, so that the stem is in the water. Cover the aquarium with the cheesecloth and then the screen. Caterpillars can eat a huge amount for their size, so be prepared to add/replace milkweed stems as needed.

In his email, the reader also explained that donations are needed to enable Kim Smith’s film, “Beauty on the Wing,” to appear on PBS:

“[The film] has been accepted by PBS, but requires a fee for distribution to get it shown. She has a link for donations to reach the amount she needs. It is tentatively scheduled for February 2022. The web-site explains how to donate to get it on PBS. I recommend this highly and thought you might like to keep an eye out for it when hopefully it will appear on PBS. (https://monarchbutterflyfilm.com/)”

Last week, I discovered that monarchs are at risk not just from habitat loss in their breeding and over-wintering grounds, both here and in Mexico. The larvae are vulnerable to predation by stink bugs, both the nymphs and the adults. Sadly, we discovered this just last week in our own garden, with two of four monarch caterpillars killed by stink bugs. More incentive to “adopt” at least some of the monarch caterpillars, to keep them safe from these predators. I’ve done this with black swallowtails, and it’s a fascinating process.

Pam Baxter is an avid organic vegetable gardener who lives in Kimberton. Direct e-mail to pamelacbaxter@gmail.com, or send mail to P.O. Box 80, Kimberton, PA 19442. Share your gardening stories on Facebook at “Chester County Roots.” Pam’s book for children and families, Big Life Lessons from Nature’s Little Secrets, is available on Amazon.