Monarch Butterfly Release Parade!
The 2017 monarch release parade was a great success! Families came to learn about monarch butterflies, make crafts, and march in a parade to celebrate the release of another generation of monarch butterflies.
Check back in 2018 for updates on opportunities to volunteer with the Fresh Pond Monarch Watch, and for details on the next parade.
Volunteer Events and Monarch Release:
The 2018 Monarch Butterfly Release Celebration will take place on Sunday August 19th from 2:00pm to 3:30pm
See the butterflies up close and personal, make some crafts, learn about this fascinating insect from 2:00-2:30
March down to the native meadow at 2:30 for a 2:35 release of all of the butterflies that were raised by rangers and volunteers
Feel free to hang out in the meadow and observe the new population of monarchs flutter by, maybe one will even land on you! Learning opportunities about milkweed, migration, Mexico, pollinators, caterpillars and more are available until 3:30
Feel free to visit the caterpillars in the Ranger Station until the 19th to check their progress!
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is an amazing insect and pollinator. Migrating every late summer-early fall, a single individual may travel thousands of miles to overwinter in warmer climes; even a monarch from Canada will travel to the forests of Mexico on its small wings!
Unfortunately, this inspiring species is threatened worldwide. In North America, the population is estimated to have dropped by nearly 90% from the 1990s to the present day. While monarch butterflies face numerous threats throughout their life cycle – both natural and human-induced—it is widely acknowledged that habitat loss is the single most devastating blow to the species in North America. Specifically, monarch butterflies depend upon milkweed (Asclepia spp.), which is generally in decline across the country, for their caterpillars to hatch and mature into adults. Additionally, overwintering sites in Mexico are under threat from logging.
But we have a chance to make a difference here at Fresh Pond! In this project, we will:
- plant milkweed to bolster the plant’s spread on the Reservation
- plant additional butterfly-friendly wildflowers as nectar sources
- weed out invasive black swallow-wort, which pushes out native nectar plants and also (as a relative to milkweed) upon which monarchs mistakenly lay eggs, poisoning caterpillars
- raise 50+ monarch caterpillars and release them
While we hope this will benefit the monarch population, this project will also improve habitat for other pollinators, upon which healthy native plant communities depend. Healthy plant communities improve natural water quality protection, biodiversity and the overall aesthetic of the Reservation.
Learn more about the magnificent monarch butterfly and conservation efforts at:
MonarchWatch.org: Education, Conservation, & Research
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
University of Minnesota: Finding, Collecting, and Growing Milkweed
PBS.org: Journey of the Butterflies
Vox.com article: Monarch butterflies are headed for extinction. We may have to get creative to save them.
Telegraph article: Monarch butterflies use internal compass to find their way
Boston.com: Cambridge declares war on invasive vine
Contact Tim Puopolo, the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, with questions about this project at (617) 349-6489.