Butterfly Restoration Project Takes Wing



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Volunteers at the Charlotte Rhoades Park are participating in a nationwide program to revive the dwindling population of monarch butterflies.

 

Being part of the Monarch Watch project fits in with the objectives of the park’s butterfly garden, which has an educational component, said volunteer Ann Judd. On visits to the garden, school groups and others can observe and learn about butterflies and their habitat.

This monarch was raised from the caterpillar stage by one of the volunteers at the Charlotte Rhoades Park in Southwest Harbor. The volunteers are helping restore the population of these endangered insects. — MARK GOOD
This monarch was raised from the caterpillar stage by one of the volunteers at the Charlotte Rhoades Park in Southwest Harbor. The volunteers are helping restore the population of these endangered insects. — MARK GOOD

“It’s what gives substance to the garden,” Ms. Judd said. “There’s action to it.”

Although many different types of butterflies can be found in the garden, the volunteers decided to focus on the monarch because it faces extinction. According to biologist Bonnie Chase, who studies monarchs and leads excursions to their wintering grounds in Mexico, the monarch is on the World Wildlife Foundation’s list of 10 most endangered species.

“This last year had the lowest population in decades,” Ms. Chase said, adding that scientists estimate that about 50 percent of the monarch population had been lost.

Monarchs are unique because they migrate, spending the summer in the northern United States and Canada and the winter in Mexico; and because individual monarchs live for about a month, the migration involves several generations of butterflies.

For more environmental news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

 

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