Thanks to Sarah and her connection with the University of Chicago Service League, Marilyn had a chance to speak at their monthly meeting this past Wednesday, via Zoom, on the subject of monarchs, their migration, and how we can help them. They were a great and interested audience, and a few members have contacted me to let me know that they would love some information throughout the year regarding what the monarchs are doing and where we can see them in Hyde Park, and also that they are willing to help in any way they can. Marilyn has been thinking about this a lot because there's some work that could be done to get information (and seeds) out throughout the neighborhood. At the next meeting of our garden committee (which includes some Service League members), Marilyn wants to spend a few minutes talking further about this. With some help, Marilyn believes she could make some real progress with these three goals that extend beyond the HPNC garden and into our broader community: 1) Highlighting where we currently have milkweed here in Hyde Park, so that: people know where they can see it and perhaps see monarch activity; people growing and maintaining it get a little pat on the back; and people (or businesses) who have it without realizing what it is can learn that it's a good thing to keep. 2) Giving seeds to people in Hyde Park who want to grow milkweed, and/or information about other varieties (what kind, where to buy, etc.) for those who don't have room for the big, tall kind that it's easiest for me to get seeds for.
3) Encouraging people to remove an invasive plant called swallow-wort that fools monarch butterflies and then kills caterpillars, similar to a community effort in Somerville and Cambridge, Mass. We do have this in Hyde Park -- Marilyn has seen it, and at least one Service League member has, too.
This morning, Marilyn happened to see this article in the Tribune about major efforts getting underway here in Illinois, and about how Chicago can play an important role. That's something she highlighted in her presentation, too -- that city neighborhoods like ours are actually very important. You can see Marilyn's full presentation to the Service League here: Monarchs, Milkweed, and Migration
Take care, and enjoy this respite before our next round of rain