Volunteers to Raise Monarch Butterflies for Schools

Volunteers needed!

The monarch's numbers are in steep decline--we can't save them unless children know about their amazing metamorphosis and migrations!

A butterfly ranch in my kitchen ->

So the Friends of Lake Wingra has a program to raise Monarch Butterflies for schools.

We've worked out a method, delivering 13 large caterpillars and chrysalises to Thoreau Elementary School.  With your help, we can supply more classes.

The second grade classes at Thoreau School were very excited.  Rapt with attention, the kids asked many smart questions.  Some of the kids are already experienced raising unusual pets--and a number of them begged me to give them monarch eggs.  One gave me a "thank you" hug when we were done.

Here's what's involved.  You can participate in the whole process, or just one of step.  We can train you.  Contact David Thompson at 233-9589.


Thoreau butterfly garden is attracting lots of pollinators

Today, the butterfly garden at Thoreau School was glorious.  The New England aster was in bloom with deep purple flowers that attracted nine or more species of insects.  The various bees, flies, and butterflies are feeding on nectar--and in the process pollinating the flowers.  A good deal for both.

The Thoreau Butterfly Garden was funded with a grant from The Friends of Lake Wingra.

The garden is a wonderful example of biodiversity.  One seldom sees such variety of colorful insects in one spot. You don't have to be concerned with tedious identification.  It's a pleasure to just observe, note the differences, and see how many different kinds you can find.

Let's take a look at what's there.

This hoverfly is nearly as big as a bumble bee.  You can tell it's a fly because it has only two pairs of wings, and huge eyes.  With black and yellow stripes, it gains protection from predators by looking like a bee.  Tentative identification: Flower Fly


Reconstruction scheduled for Monroe Street

The City has rescheduled reconstruction of Monroe St, to 2015.  Budgetary issues caused the delays.

There have been two sessions in which the public was invited to make suggestions for the project.  During the first, I suggested that the City adopt a design goal of not exporting stormwater to the lake for storms up to a selected intensity (let's say a two-year storm).

Such a goal would be easier to achieve if the City (or FoLLW) also adopted a program to encourage better handling of stormwater on private properties nearby.  For example, if more people disconnected their downspouts from their driveways (and the street), then the Monroe Street project wouldn't need to handle as much stormwater.

During the second pubic meeting about Monroe Street, in which City staff summarized input from the first meeting, there was no mention either of adopting a stormwater export standard, or of a program to encourage better infiltration on private property.

The "Green Street" pilot program dropped

A green street seeks to reduce stormwater runoff and associated pollutants, bring natural elements into streets, and improve access for pedestrians and bicycles.  A new green street program can create a standard for a neighborhood, generating pride.  Since Monroe street is a gateway neighborhood to the City for a large number of commuters and visitors, it sets the tone for all of Madison.