In 2010 the University of Kansas MONARCHWATCH program certified Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden as an official Monarch Waystation. A Monarch Waystation is a site that provides larval and nectar sources for Monarch Butterflies. Rhoades Park is an important summer breeding ground for these frequent flyers that migrate over a thousand miles to their overwintering grounds in Mexico each fall.
Monarch larvae (caterpillars) feed exclusively on milkweed. Adult monarchs derive sugars and nutrients from milkweed and a variety of plants that serve as nectaring plants that are also energy sources needed for migration.
Milkweed and nectar plants continue to decline due to development, use of herbicides on farmland, roadsides, and pastures. Because 90% of all milkweed habitats occur within the agricultural landscape, farm practices directly affect monarch populations.
To compensate for the loss of milkweed and nectar sources we will continue conserving and protecting milkweed/monarch habitats at Rhoades Park. We encourage individuals and groups (schools, businesses, parks, etc.) to create Monarch Waystations. We can recommend which varieties of milkweed and other plants to use. Something as simple as adding larval and nectar sources to existing gardens or maintaining natural habitats with milkweed will have a positive impact on monarchs and other butterfly species. Without these efforts the monarch population is certain to decline significantly.
What we accomplished since 2010
At Rhoades Park between June and September, hundreds of home-raised Monarch larvae were transferred to Milkweed plants. Chrysalides were given to local schools and individuals to observe adult Monarchs hatching, and subsequently those butterflies were released at school gardens or returned to the Park for release. Additional Milkweed plants were installed at Rhoades Park to supplement the food source for an increasing Monarch summer population.
The native Milkweed seed pods that were harvested during the fall of 2010 will be distributed in 2011 to groups and individuals throughout Hancock County. Assistance will also be provided by the Garden Club of Mt. Desert Island, which will supply Milkweed seedlings for additional Monarch Waystations to organizations, businesses and individuals. Contact us if you would like to be a part of this program.
Donations are always welcome to support Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden. Donations are used to purchase plants and supplies to maintain the garden. Learn more >>>
Monarch Waystation Resources
Check out the Monarch Waystation Program website to learn which milkweed and nectar plants to plant in your garden. Obtain a Waystation seed kit, guidelines for establishing a Monarch Waystation, and much more!