Monday, June 20, 2016

Join the Butterfly Trail!

Discovery Day at the Carter Center

This past weekend my husband and I had the pleasure of attending the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail Discovery Day at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta. The Butterfly Trail was established when former First Lady, Mrs. Carter became concerned after learning about the plight of the Monarch Butterfly and wanted to do something about it. She contacted Annette Wise, Program Director at the Jimmy Carter Education Program, who helped her start a butterfly garden at her home in Plains, Georgia to increase public awareness of the problem, especially for children, and to teach about the importance of planting milkweed. By creating her garden in Plains, Mrs. Carter inspired the creation of other butterfly gardens across the state and the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail began. Now the trail includes over 300 public, private and school gardens across the state of Georgia and the U.S. The pollinator garden at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta is one of the gardens on the Butterfly Trail. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never even heard of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, but now I know a lot more and have already added our garden to the trail map!

The Pollinator Garden at the Carter Center

Proclaiming Pollinator Week and Recognizing the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail

We spent a fun and informative morning learning about butterflies and their habitat. We listened to speakers, including Mrs. Carter (!) who talked about the project and the importance of butterfly conservation. We watched a fun children's play about monarchs and visited the discovery stations. The activities were geared to children and it was very exciting to see the enthusiasm of the next generation of conservationists! At the end of the morning we purchased some native butterfly host and nectar plants to bring home to our own garden. It was a wonderful and uplifting day.

Mrs. Carter Speaking About Monarchs

Discussion After the Children's Play

Educational Stations

Creating Seed Balls

Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed

Male and Female Monarchs

Monarch Body Prints to Test for Presence of a Protozoan Parasite
To Learn More About Citizen Science Projects Like This, Click HERE

The Local North American Butterfly Association (NABA) Chapter Had an Activity Table
Find Your Local Chapter and Join HERE

Butterfly Host Plants Native to the Georgia Piedmont Region

The migration of millions of Monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico and back again every year is one of the world's natural wonders. But loss of habitat, development, the disappearance of milkweed (the Monarch caterpillar's host plant), pesticide use and other factors have all contributed to drastic declines in the population of the amazing Monarch Butterfly and threaten their existence. Monarchs are important pollinators and are wonderful and beautiful to look at. Their decline can be seen as an indicator of greater troubles in the world's ecosystems, and protecting them and their habitat will help other pollinators, as well as the creatures (like us) who depend on the pollinators. Learning about and protecting Monarchs and other butterflies and pollinators is an excellent way to teach people, young and old alike, about the interdependent web of life. Conservation efforts are already paying off and the numbers of Monarchs are on the rise again. You can be part of the solution! To learn more about the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, click HERE. It is easy to add your garden to the list of stops along the trail. Celebrate National Pollinator week by joining in!

A Pollinator Visits the Garden

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