Recently I wrote to a powerful Hudson County politician with what I conceived as a rather esoteric request: throw a life-line to a threatened species of butterfly called the Monarch by planting milkweed, its only food source. Here’s the idea. Take the city owned empty tree wells in Union City that are now choked with weeds and convert them to butterfly-way stations and water them with the tree watering truck that winds its way throughout the town.
I suggested beginning with six empty, treeless wells along the curbside of NY Avenue and Second Street. As I await a reply to my letter, I visit at least once a day the white blossoms of the Butterfly-bush at entrance to Washington Park on Palisade Avenue and Second Street. For now, this serves as a butterfly way station for pollinators on the wing such as the yellow and black fuzzy bumblebee with puffy pollen sacs. In addition, I have started a count of butterfly species in Union City. So far, 12 species, but no sighting of Monarchs so far.
And what will you do if the mighty politician spurns your proposal to plant milkweeds in vacant tree wells? Will he swat you away like a pesty fly? I shall persist as I must. Write back. Suggest. He should consider planting orange blossoming Butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa, in the 3 empty urns in the municipal garden bordering New York Avenue in Washington Park. Granted, planting milkweed and nectar flowering plants is but a drop in the bucket. But, it’s better than nothing at all. Better than saying you can’t fight politicians. Better than giving up before you have even tried.
If you should spot a Monarch butterfly? Please let me know. And if you are able snap a photo of it and post it on Youtube. Do marvel at it. Do enjoy it with your child. Do not kill it. Do not net it. Do not capture it. Do not pin it for a collection. Allow it to roam free! It is on a journey of some 2,000 miles plus so wish it well, this winged-flower, this winged-jewel of delight. Wishing you the best,
Raven Tony Squire