New Rochelle, NY – Iona College students, faculty and staff recently embarked on a unique environmental sustainability project to help stem the rapidly declining populations of Monarch butterflies. Several “test plots” of milkweed were planted to assist the Monarchs to successfully reproduce and complete their fall migration.
Under the direction of Peter Letourneau, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology/environmental science, planning and planting of this ambitious campus initiative, was created by the Iona College Green Club, Ad-Hoc Committee on Environmental Sustainability (AHCES), the Environmental Science program, and campus facilities.
A distinctive insect, Monarchs undertake one of the longest migrations of any animal, and the longest known insect migration, from their summer grounds in northern North America to a single, high-altitude conifer forest in the Trans-Mexican mountain range in central Mexico. Depending almost entirely on milkweeds to lay eggs, feed the larvae, and sustain the adults, availability of this native meadow plant is critical for the survival of the Monarchs.
The victims of habitat loss, pesticides, and possibly climate change, planting of native milkweeds and other "butterfly weeds" will help the Monarchs to successfully reproduce and complete their fall migration.
“We obtained some northern milkweed "pods", each containing hundreds of seeds with "fluff" (like dandelions),” said Dr. LeTourneau. “A native meadow plant, milkweed is pretty hardy and prefers full sun and long summer days.”
With this project Iona College has joined hundreds of schools, colleges, environmental organizations, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in their effort to increase the population of one of nature's most fascinating creatures -- the beautiful and mysterious Monarch butterfly.
View a short video about Iona’s day planting milkweed seeds.
For additional information please visit Save the Monarch
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