DAMASCUS—The Penn State Extension Master Gardeners Program is offering a workshop on Saturday, August 3, about monarch butterflies and the native plants necessary for their lifecycle.
Attendees will meet with experts Ed Wesley and Deb Meyers in a private garden to hopefully catch some monarch specimens in their autumn migration and to learn about their lifecycles and what plants one can add to one's home garden to bolster this pollinator's population.
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on August 3.
Attendees must register by 11:59 on July 31. The garden's location will be disclosed to attendees when registration is complete.
Those participating are asked to bring one non-perishable item instead of a registration fee. All items will be donated to a local food pantry.
“Pollinators play a much more substantial role in our ecosystem and food system than people are aware of,” explained Master Gardener Coordinator, Diane Diffenderfer. “One in three bites of food we eat owe their existence to pollinators.”
Materials from the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) note that the monarch butterfly population has been declining in the last two decades, reducing in number from over one billion to only 150 million.
Efforts have been underway since 2014 to bolster the monarch butterfly population and that of other pollinators to protects crops and flowering plants across the United States which rely on the insects to flourish.
One of the simplest things to do in order to help replenish these populations is to plant key food sources and other ecological necessities for monarch butterflies.
Diffenderfer explained, in doing this, it is important to also learn about which species of plant are native to the area, so as not to introduce an invasive organism by accident.
She noted the aforementioned workshop will offer a good source of information about what plants are available locally, such as common milkweed, to support and attract the orange and black beauties to one's home garden.
Those looking to attend are advised to dress for an outdoor program with hats, sunscreen water and other necessities.
A hand-lens may be useful to observe plants and insects in greater detail, but is not necessary to participate.
Those looking to register for or find out more information about the workshop can do so at: https://extension.psu.edu/monarchs-and-native-plants.
Those interested may also call the Wayne County Penn State Extension Office at 570-253-5970 ext. 4110.
More information about restoring monarch populations is available from the UDC (1-845-252-3022, www.upperdelawarecouncil.org.)