|Evaluation gardens outside the Plant Science Center|
He was speaking on preserving Monarch Butterfly habitat -- The Monarch Butterfly: How You Can Help Save this Iconic Species
Scott Hoffman Black is the executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. He gave his presentation in the central hall of the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center on the east side of the Botanic Garden.
I love monarchs. My sister used to grow milk weed and we were a fly over spot on the migration south where I grew up in Ohio, so I have had them in my life and gardens for a very long time. Once they laid eggs on the milk weed, which grew into caterpillars that have the greatest stripes. We even got to witness the butterfly emerging, when my father brought a crystalis indoors so we could watch the transformation into a butterfly. We then released it back into the wild. It was one of those great nature experiences I still recall fondly. It probably cemented my love of Monarchs.
My take away from the lecture was unlike so many other endangered species activities we may engage in, this one is a species in my backyard and my backyard can help this species continue to thrive. Planting butterfly nectar flowers and providing milkweed for breeding and food for caterpillars is something that is simple and easy to do. And in the process I can help bees and other pollinating insects as well. If you want more details I recommend checking out the website for the Xerces Society (Named after the first butterfly species in the US to go extinct!) There is even a seed finder for companies that have milkweed seed in your area.
The overall theme of World Environment Day was actually the world in your backyard. There were many places where I picked up on this message. I learned about a volunteer program to identify native species and collect stats on their growth situation and habitat dangers. I also learned about earthworms, mushrooms, and bees. I even spoke with a bee keeper.
|Over in the Herb and Vegetable Garden was this great display on DIY Herbs De Provence with sample plants!|
I will admit that I went to the Botanic Gardens strictly for the lecture. If I had not wanted to see the Walled English Garden before the July heat, I might not have walked to the other side of the park that day, but the weather was perfect and the Botanic Garden was beautiful and I just could not help myself.
|view toward the Japanese garden that day|
All in all it was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it next year, it should again be around the first weekend of June. Until then I suggest the other great events they have coming up. These will surely be as much fun!
Garden Chef Series (every weekend until well into October)
Herb Garden Weekend - July 26 & 27 - how can I miss this!
Heirloom Tomato weekend - August 24 & 25 - I need to know how mine stack up!
Farmers Markets - first and third Sunday of the month once the local growing season gets going!
So let's go visit the Chicago Botanic Garden this summer! I'll see you there.