Save the date! We are putting together an exciting new event for this year’s spooky season. There will be candy! There will be hiking! There will be environmental education! We’re excited to share more with you soon.
BUTTERNUT FUN FLOAT
Sunday, September 11, 10am-12:30pm
Meet: Spring Street bridge, Gilbertsville to Copes Corners Park
We’re teaming up once again with our friends from the Butternut Valley Alliance to bring you a relaxing paddle on one of our most scenic waterways, the Butternut Creek. Learn about the natural and human history of the region and enjoy the water. Launch site will be Spring Street, Gilbertsville, paddling to Copes Corners Park, slightly over four river miles. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the park after (bring your own). You may bring your own watercraft or borrow one of ours. Register using the form here and be sure to tell us if you need to borrow a canoe and the number of people in your party.
As summer winds down here’s a friendly reminder from the monarch butterflies: don’t mow your milkweed! Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on members of the milkweed family. Though you have no doubt been seeing increasing numbers of monarch butterflies recently, caterpillars are still developing and will not survive if their host plants are cut down. No milkweed means no monarchs!
But monarchs need more than milkweed. As the butterflies emerge over the next few weeks, they need a different source of food: nectar. Late blooming flowers that are rich in nectar include goldenrods, asters, and Monarda (bee balms). These plants are especially attractive to monarchs, and are critical sources of the food that will fuel their epic migration to central Mexico. They are also crucial to a wide variety of other insects, including bees, wasps, flies, beetles and ants, and their seeds are an important food source for birds, insects and small mammals as well.
Monarch butterflies are among the most recognizable and beloved members of the insect world. Unfortunately, monarch populations have declined precipitously in recent years, due to a combination of factors including habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change. Earlier this year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed monarchs as endangered (note that monarchs are not currently protected in the United States under the federal Endangered Species Act).
While saving monarchs from extinction requires a massive effort from all levels of society, there are some relatively simple things individuals can do to help:
- Don’t mow milkweed! If you see milkweeds growing on your property, leave them alone. Remember, these are the sole source of food for monarch caterpillars.
- While you’re at it, leave the other wildflowers, too. Newly-emerging adult monarchs need nectar to fuel their epic journey. Late season wildflowers such as the goldenrods, asters and bee balm (Monarda) play a critical role in the survival of monarchs and other important pollinators. Give them room to grow, and even consider planting them! But…
- Before you plant, plan—and learn! Take some time to learn what plants are suited to your site, what is most desired for the species you want to attract, and where to find the plants you want. There are many great resources available, including your local Cornell Cooperative Extension (cceschoharie-otsego.org), as well as organizations such as the Xerces Society (xerces.org). National Audubon Society also has a native plants database (audubon.org/native-plants) that includes links to local sources for these plants.