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Male Monarch Butterfly in Hand - Garland, Texas - October 2015

Loving Garland Green, Keep Garland Beautiful, the Bud and Blossom Garden Club, and many of our Garland ISD schools have been busy the past two years ensuring that Monarchs are included in our City’s moniker:  “Texas Made Here”.  Yes, Garland is one of the largest manufacturing cities in the state of Texas with more than 300 manufacturers within our city limits.  Also it should be noted that many Monarch butterflies are also made here with a little assistance from our residents. 

 

Happy 2016 – The Last Monarch, a female, Born in Garland Texas in the year 2016—December 31, 2016—Happy was rescued as a caterpillar by members of Loving Garland Green on December 5, 2016.  Read her story here. 

December 5, 2015 was a memorable month for Loving Garland Green.  We were busy with a monthly garden clean up when one of our members, Cheryl Andres, spotted a large Monarch caterpillar chewing on a dried milkweed leaf.  I took it home and put it in a condo (mesh laundry basket from Wal-Mart) and stuck a milkweed plant in with it.  The Caterpillar ate and ate, made a chrysalis and then eclosed into a butterfly on December 31, 2015.  Charlie and I drove the female to Raymondville, Texas to release her.  On our way we stopped in Austin to show her off to Grace Barnett and the folks at the Texas Wildlife Department.  We nicknamed that Monarch, Happy 2016.  

Monarchs are extremely fond of Charlie, one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green.  He is the best person for releasing them—even though they are often reluctant to leave his hands.  They always want to stay on Charlie longer than on any of our other members—so much so that I’ve nicknamed him as “The Monarch Whisperer.”

 

 

Garland Texas Monarch Whisperer - Charles Bevilacqua– Garland Community Garden October 2016

We tag Monarchs in Garland!

In the fall of 2016 we added another activity to our list of looking out for Monarchs in Garland, Texas—tagging them.  To assist a group from the University of Kansas (Monarch Watch.org) in tracking the migration patterns of Monarchs, we started tagging Monarchs on their way back to their Mexican winter home in the fall of 2016.  We tagged and released 30 Monarchs that we had rescued as caterpillars and assisted in their transition to butterflies.

 

Loving Garland Green is increasing our Monarch Making Activities in 2017 with the addition of Citizen Science Monarch Projects.

We now have two Citizen Science Projects underway for promoting Monarch butterflies:  The first is ongoing now during the time when Monarchs are on their way north through Texas from their Mexican wintering grounds.  Loving Garland Green members and Garland residents are reporting any sightings of Monarchs from March 1 to April 30 to Loving Garland Green President, Jane Stroud.  Jane is keeping reports of these sightings on a spreadsheet that she will send to Monarch Watch.org at the end of April.  The second citizen science Monarch project will begin in August and will continue until the end of September.  During this time we will hold classes in the garden on butterfly netting, tagging and releasing.  The tagged butterflies will be recorded on a spreadsheet that is then sent to Monarch Watch.org.

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Jane Stroud, President Loving Garland Green

Garland Texas Monarch Momma

Garland not only has a Monarch Whisperer, we also have a Monarch Momma, Jane Stroud, President of Loving Garland Green.  Until 2017 we have only had interactions with Monarchs in the fall as they return to their wintering grounds.

All that changed a few days ago in early April when Jane went out into her garden and discovered 12 Monarch caterpillars.  Some of them were so large they were only about 24 hours from moving on to the chrysalis stage.

Jane noted that she was impressed that the mother Monarch(s) who planted the eggs were careful to deposit only a few on the 2-3 inch tall milkweed in her garden.  Still that was not enough to feed 12 hungry caterpillars so Jane rushed off to a local nursery where she purchased three tropical milkweed plants for the caterpillars to munch on. 

Jane’s rescue is indeed timely if her garden has as many lizards as I have seen in my garden and down at the Garland Community Garden lately.

Here are two photographs Jane sent me yesterday from the 12 Hungry Caterpillars.  As you can see, one of them has already advanced to become a lovely green pupa—the last stage in its lifecycle before spreading its wings as a Monarch butterfly.

 

The Future Looks Bright for More Monarchs Made in Garland Texas.

What new urban developments for the Monarch will transpire to make our community even more ecologically friendly—not only to the Monarch butterflies, but to all pollinators—such as our native bees?  I’m pushing for a unique downtown urban container pollinator garden that includes edibles such as pole beans along with the traditional native plants such as Turk’s Cap, Salvia and native milkweed that are often featured in butterfly gardens.  Pole beans bloom from early June until the first frost and all pollinators love their pole bean blossoms. 

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