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La Vista Celebrates Autumn Equinox

September 23rd, 2014

B6On Saturday, September 20, thirty people gathered at La Vista to learn about the fall Monarch migration and to celebrate the beginning of autumn.

To introduce themselves, participants told about the last time they spotted a Monarch. Maxine Pohlman, Director of the Oblate Ecological Initiative at Godfrey said, “We learned much about one another, our country or state of origin, and the presence and absence of Monarchs in our areas. Our sharing whetted our appetites for viewing the YouTube video “Plight of the Monarchs”, a twenty minute informative presentation filmed in central Illinois. We became aware of the threats to the endangered phenomenon of the annual Monarch migration, such as habitat loss, use of pesticides, and disappearance of the valuable milkweed plant.”

She added, “Next we headed outside to a patch of milkweed that has been cordoned off and allowed to grow throughout the season. As we stood there listening to a reading about the Monarch, one beautiful butterfly showed up to delight us – right on cue!”

Staff and volunteers at the OEI plan to install a pollinator garden located on the terraces beneath a statue of Mary. The effort is designed to provide a safe haven and nectar for all pollinators, including the valued Monarch butterfly.

The program ended on the patio overlooking the Mississippi as the group heard from a gentleman who “tags” Monarchs at the Heartland Prairie nearby. Sr. Maxine said, “Everyone was amazed as we learned the technique used to tag and track Monarchs that end up in Mexico on the Day of the Dead in November. Several participants plan to join this effort.”

“It was a good day to encourage people to join what Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods) calls the “Backyard Revolution”. Planting milkweed in our yards and schools, observing Monarchs as they visit, eat, and form cocoons on the plants, are great ways to do something we all dream of doing: making a difference. In this case the difference will be to the future of biodiversity, to native plants and animals of North America and the ecosystems that sustain them. By joining this effort, we would be connecting to something large, magnificent, mysterious, and endangered.”

To learn more about creating a Monarch “waystation” in your backyard as well as about tagging Monarchs, please visit www.MonarchWatch.org. Join the Backyard Revolution!

Thanks to the OEI for this information. To learn more about what is happening at the OEI n Godfrey, IL, please visit the La Vista website 

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