Monarch Waystation project
News and notes
>Milkweeds slow this year?
14 May 2013 - Christine reports seeing milkweeds up and growing - 6 inches tall or more - in some of the places she visits regularly in the east end of the city. At the FWG, we haven't seen any shoots except for the healthy plants in our model monarch waystation.
Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
has produced a series of excellent "training videos." They cover everything about monarchs: detailed information about how the larvae grow; measuring milkweed density, rearing monarchs, and migration. Highly recommended to anyone interested in monarch butterflies and their conservation!
Milkweeds for monarch waystations
is a new Facebook group posting information about milkweeds, of course, and other information about monarch butterflies.
Why the monarch butterfly migration may be endangered
CBC report on the latest monarch data. More...
Monarch population lowest ever
Monarch Teachers Network 2013 workshop schedule now confirmed.
Data from the World Wildlife Fund-Mexico and Comisionado Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas show a record low for the area occupied by monarch colonies at their overwintering grounds. More...
Monarch Conservation: the Challenges Ahead - In November 2012, Dr. Chip Taylor (head of MonarchWatch) delivered the annual Quimby F. Hess lecture at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. He was introduced by Don Davis, Canada's monarch champion. See video on YouTube
More waystations at Ottawa schools - Kate Harrigan reports that the local Monarch Teachers Network has received a grant from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation that will allow them to fund waystations at eight Ottawa schools in spring 2013.
Last monarch of the season Jean Lauriault reports seeing a monarch on Thursday, 25 October 2012, the latest sighting ever at his home in northern Aylmer. Jean also had the earliest monarch sighting on Sunday, 27 May this spring. What a year for monarchs - and butterflies in general!
The massive arrival has begun! It's one of nature's great miracles. Monarchs find a place on the planet where they have never been. This week, explore how the monarchs' arrival is connected to Mexican traditions. from Journey North, Nov. 1, 2012
How high can monarchs fly
"Over two miles high! The highest monarchs ever reported were seen by a glider pilot soaring 11,000 feet above the earth" from Journey North, 4 Oct. 2012
Butterflies begin their journey in a grade 7 classroom (21 September)
On Friday, Shelley MacWhirter talked to the CBC's Ottawa Morning about the monarchs she and her class raised and released this fall. Click here to hear the interview
Seven more caterpillars found in FWG Butterfly Meadow (5 September)
One on butterfly weed, the rest on swamp milkweed. They ranged in length from 3 to 5 cm, so we hope they'll have time to pupate and fly off to Mexico as adults by the end of the month.
Journey North reports that fall migration has started. More
Last instar caterpillars at FWG
Last Wednesday several of our volunteers found 4 large monarch caterpillars in our Backyard Garden. Although we've seen eggs and smaller caterpillars and eggs earlier in the year, we haven't been able to verify that they reached pupal stage. Also exciting, this is the first time we've see monarch caterpillars on and eating butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Previously, we've only found them on common and swamp milkweeds and we were beginning to think their attraction to butterfly weed was a myth.
On the weekend, one volunteer reported, "We were at Parc Omega today and there were so many monarch caterpillars. So many different sizes. One was just a about a centimeter and a half and others large with all sizes in between. I've never noticed so many before."
From Journey North (20 June 2012):
Record numbers of monarchs reported in Alberta. A University of Alberta faculty member said of the sightings north of Edmonton, "This might be the farthest-north record for a monarch for a long time (at least since I saw one in about 1977)."
From Kathryn Currie (high school teacher)
"Just to pass on that I saw my second Monarch of the season yesterday (Thursday June 14) by the Kilborn allotment gardens. (First was a week Wednesday, same spot). Milkweed looks ready to burst into bloom! Plants from Fletcher are settling into our school garden. (And we got 29 of 30 or so Painted Lady butterflies from Boreal to emerge successfully, so the kids enjoyed that, released the last ones June 11.)
First monarch at Maitland Garden of Hope
seen 5 June 2012 by Colleen O'Connell and Dave Cybulski.
First monarch at the FWG
was sighted in the Butterfly Meadow on 6 June 2012, about 4 p.m. by Diane Lepage and Sandy Garland.
Our annual native plant sale was a big success despite the rain. Although our common milkweeds were too small to sell, we sold a number of swamp milkweeds and butterfly weed. And met another waystation owner from the Maitland Garden of Hope near Brockville.
Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
is a citizen science project involving volunteers from across the United States and Canada in monarch research. It was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota to collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat. The overarching goal of the project is to better understand how and why monarch populations vary in time and space, with a focus on monarch distribution and abundance during the breeding season in North America. The FWG is participating in this project.
Sign-up to monitor
First monarchs here
On 27 May 2012, Jean Lauriault noted 3 monarchs on a patch of chives at his home north of Aylmer - "Never seen this early"! (photo left)
Workshop at FWG
- Our workshop on Tuesday afternoon, 8 May 2012, gathered together monarch experts Don Davis and Jean Lauriault, eButterfly developer Max Larrivée, monarch waystation creators, and representatives from the Monarch Teachers Network. We had an excellent discussion on a range of topics - from best ways to grow milkweed to the state of the overwintering site in Mexico. Follow-up action:
- encourage people to report sightings to eButterfly (the FWG has already registered and reports regularly)
- hold a meeting with NCC and city staff to discuss monarch conservation and how their land management practices affect the monarch population
- hold a larger public workshop in the fall
- publicize the Monarch Teachers Network courses in Ottawa this summer and put local teachers in touch with this group
- track down existing research on growing milkweed
- compare notes with waystation owners on what plants are best and when to cut milkweed
- Experiments with milkweeds are continuing. We're growing 5 species of milkweed this year: common, swamp, butterfly weed, whorled, and poke. We're also investigating germination rates for common and swamp milkweed under a variety of conditions.
- August 18: Notes from first meeting of the project steering committee (MSWord)
- Potential FWG goals - extracted by Peter Hall from the North American Monarch Conservation Plan
Background for the project
What we've learned so far
Links to other monarch conservation efforts