Botanical Garden Prepares For Butterfly Migration

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On July 21, 2022, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s most extensive inventory of biological species’ global status, listed the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered. According to the IUCN, the migratory monarch population has declined by 22% to 72% over the last decade, with a 26% drop just in 2021. Concerned about the increased threat of extinction for these delicate creatures, Jim Gibbs, owner/developer of Gibbs Gardens, decided to do more to help. Gibbs recently expanded his 2021 butterfly garden from three to 15 acres, providing migratory monarch butterflies with five times the habitat within Gibbs Gardens.

One of the most serious threats to migratory monarchs is habitat destruction. Gibbs Gardens’ 376-acre size and completely natural environment create a unique protected habitat for butterflies. The Butterfly Garden was created with shrubs, small and large trees, and water features to provide safe places for butterflies to explore and rest at night. Monarch butterflies migrate approximately 2,485 miles each year from their summer breeding areas in Canada and New England, traveling south along the east coast and then through north Georgia before turning west toward Texas and Mexico.

Every day, monarch butterflies must find a safe haven with adequate food to fuel their migration. Monarch butterflies fly up to two miles above the earth at about five miles per hour, covering 25 to 100 miles per day—and they don’t pack a lunch. Monarch butterflies are “specialist” eaters, meaning they only eat certain plants, and they must be able to find them from 11,000 feet up.

The acres of blooming flowers in bright, vivid colors serve as a vibrant welcome mat for the monarch butterflies. The Eastern Black Swallowtail and Yellow Swallowtail butterflies have already visited the Butterfly Garden. Monarch butterflies begin to arrive in September and October as eastern and northern migratory monarchs make their way to their wintering grounds. By November, they will have arrived in southwestern Mexico.

The migratory monarchs will reverse the process and head north to breed in April of next year. Jim Gibbs will be prepared. On November 15, he will begin clearing out the fall flowers and planting poppies, larkspur, milkweed, and other monarch delicacies in preparation for their return trip in April 2023.

source prnewswire


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