Monarch release honors lost loved ones


By Cecilia Fox - cfox@aimmediamidwest.com



How to help monarch butterflies

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, creating a habitat, no matter the size, is helpful to monarchs and pollinators. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Choose your location: Butterflies enjoy basking in the sun. Gardens should be planted in sunny spots, with some protection from the wind.

2. Take a look at your soil: Break ground to see the consistency of the soil in your yard. Soil may influence the kinds of plants you can grow, or may require special considerations. If you find that your soil type doesn’t match the plants you’d like to plant, you might consider building a raised bed or using flower pots.

3. Prep your soil: If you’re planting in your yard, remove the lawn and current plant cover and rake the soil. Additional dirt can be helpful no matter the location and is necessary for raised beds and flower pots - add your soil to the bed or pot.

4. Choose your plants: Find a nursery near you that sells native and local plants and milkweed for your area. Native plants are the ideal choice because they require less maintenance and tend to be heartier. Choose plants that have not been treated with pesticides, insecticides or neonicotinoids and look for perennials to ensure your plants come back each year with less maintenance.

5. Plant your flowers and milkweed: For small plants, dig holes just big enough for the root system. Cover the roots with dirt and reinforce with dirt or straw mulch to reduce weed growth. For seeding, spread seeds across your freshly prepared garden and cover them with dirt. Consider adding some flat rocks so butterflies can bask in the sun.

6. Wait, watch, water and weed your garden: It may take some time, but you will eventually see butterflies and other pollinators enjoying your garden. Make sure to weed and water your garden to keep it healthy.

TIPP CITY — A local event venue will host a Day of Remembrance next Wednesday, honoring lost loved ones while releasing monarch butterflies into the wild.

On Sept. 12 at 7 p.m., Cedar Springs Pavilion in Tipp City will host the memorial event, which will feature a guest speaker and butterfly release. Afterwards, guests will be encouraged to walk around the gardens, visit the butterfly house and watch the sunset.

“Everyone that has lost someone is welcome to come,” Cedar Springs Pavilion owner Lisa Reinhard said.

The event coincides with the anniversary of the death of Reinhard’s son, Dustin, who was killed in a car accident nine years ago. This year, the family wanted to something different to honor his memory, Reinhard said.

“The day comes along and you start dreading it a month ahead of time and it’s painful,” Reinhard said. She credited her daughter Danielle with coming up with the idea. “I think she realized that there are other people out there going through the same pain.”

Last year, Reinhard opened a butterfly house on her property in an effort to boost the monarch butterfly population, in addition to fields of milkweed to feed the monarch caterpillars. This summer, for the first time since they were planted, the milkweed plants have bloomed.

“With my butterfly house, they just go together,” Reinhard said of the event.

The event is free to attend, but those interested in releasing a personal butterfly in a loved one’s name must reserve one in advance for $10 per butterfly. To reserve a butterfly, email avasbutterflyhouse@gmail.com no later than 48 hours prior to the event.

Fascinated by the butterflies that migrate thousands of miles annually, Reinhard wanted to do something to help the species, which is currently being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, the reason for their flagging numbers is mainly habitat loss and the eradication of milkweed with pesticides.

Working the Conservation Reserve Program, Reinhard dedicated seven acres of her property to the program as an Ohio wildlife habitat for the next 10 years, mainly in an effort to encourage the monarch butterfly population.

Reinhard has tried to create a haven for monarchs, constructing a butterfly house and planting milkweed. Milkweed is essential to the survival of the species because it is the only thing monarch caterpillars can eat.

“I’m just so overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised,” she said. “The milkweed was plentiful out there in the field and because of that I had a lot of monarchs floating around.”

Reinhard collects monarch eggs and caterpillars from the milkweed field on her property and moves them into the enclosure. This protects the vulnerable insects from predators like birds and other insects, she said.

The butterfly house is not always open to the public, as it is located on privately owned property. But Reinhard soon hopes to be able to bring school groups out to learn more about monarch butterflies.

Since she opened Cedar Springs Pavilion, an outdoor wedding venue, Reinhard has been working to attract native wildlife to the 17-acre property. The pond on the property is stocked with Ohio-native fish species, and many other creatures like hummingbirds, deer and pollinators have made their way to the habitat over the years.

In late September, eastern populations of monarchs begin their migration from southern Canada and the United States to Mexico, where they arrive in November. They begin their return trip in March, arriving back where they started in July.

No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip — four generations are involved in the whole cycle as butterflies stop along the way to reproduce. Ohio, Reinhard said, is one of the places monarchs stop on their journey.

By Cecilia Fox

cfox@aimmediamidwest.com

How to help monarch butterflies

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, creating a habitat, no matter the size, is helpful to monarchs and pollinators. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Choose your location: Butterflies enjoy basking in the sun. Gardens should be planted in sunny spots, with some protection from the wind.

2. Take a look at your soil: Break ground to see the consistency of the soil in your yard. Soil may influence the kinds of plants you can grow, or may require special considerations. If you find that your soil type doesn’t match the plants you’d like to plant, you might consider building a raised bed or using flower pots.

3. Prep your soil: If you’re planting in your yard, remove the lawn and current plant cover and rake the soil. Additional dirt can be helpful no matter the location and is necessary for raised beds and flower pots – add your soil to the bed or pot.

4. Choose your plants: Find a nursery near you that sells native and local plants and milkweed for your area. Native plants are the ideal choice because they require less maintenance and tend to be heartier. Choose plants that have not been treated with pesticides, insecticides or neonicotinoids and look for perennials to ensure your plants come back each year with less maintenance.

5. Plant your flowers and milkweed: For small plants, dig holes just big enough for the root system. Cover the roots with dirt and reinforce with dirt or straw mulch to reduce weed growth. For seeding, spread seeds across your freshly prepared garden and cover them with dirt. Consider adding some flat rocks so butterflies can bask in the sun.

6. Wait, watch, water and weed your garden: It may take some time, but you will eventually see butterflies and other pollinators enjoying your garden. Make sure to weed and water your garden to keep it healthy.

Reach Cecilia Fox at cfox@aimmediamidwest.com.

Reach Cecilia Fox at cfox@aimmediamidwest.com.