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Monarch waystation provides beauty for humans, food for butterflies

Posted July 12, 2017

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When you visit Forest Park Pool this summer, keep an eye out for butterflies flitting among the old oak trees and above the cooling waters.

The Native Plant Society of Texas worked with the Fort Worth Park and Recreation Department to plant a monarch butterfly waystation near the entrance to the pool. More than 250 nectar-providing plants were planted in 1,250 square feet of garden beds. The waystation was dedicated this spring.

Monarch waystations are garden patches that replicate wildflower areas frequented by butterflies in the wild. They’re designed for migrating monarchs who travel through Texas on their way to overwintering in Mexico. The garden is planted with nectar plants and milkweeds for caterpillars next spring.

The purpose of the project is to save the butterflies by fostering the recovery of declining populations of migrating monarch butterflies in North America. The decline in their population over the past 20 years is mainly attributed to loss of habitat and native milkweed plants due to urban development, shifts in agricultural practices, land management activities, use of insecticides, severe weather, and degradation of their winter habitats in Mexico.

Mayor Betsy Price has signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, through which cities and municipalities are committing to create habitat and educate residents about how they can make a difference at home.

Besides the Forest Park Pool, the Native Plant Society of Texas has built a monarch waystation on I-35 at a rest area in Hill County south of Hillsboro. The waystation is one of four planned by the group along the interstate in Texas.

The effort is part of the multistate Monarch Highway Project, created to increase monarch habitat and public awareness and participation along I-35 through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the central flyway of the monarch migration.

In Texas, I-35 follows the eastern spring migration route of monarch butterflies as they make their multi-generational trip south from Canada to Mexico in the fall and return north in spring.

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