The Measure of a Monarch
From the Oct. 3 farm share newsletter:
Last fall we saw not one monarch butterfly on our farm. This was unprecedented. This year, we’re happy to report we’ve seen a handful, such as this one prepping in the thick of some pasture for a long trip south. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife is in the midst of a multi-year process of assessing whether the monarch should be formally designated as an endangered species. A decline in monarch butterflies populations is worrisome in itself but also because it reflects a decline in the health of American grassland habitats and its pollinators. At Free Bird Farm, we let milkweed flourish, as this is the one plant on which monarch eggs are laid and upon which the caterpillars eat. We’re not sure why we didn’t see any sign of monarchs last year but can guess it had to do with extreme weather– in last year’s case, drought and intense heat.
Read about this week’s share contents here.