Monarch butterflies, a 'remarkable insect, worthy of our protection'

To the Editor:

I want to bring to light a campaign to protect the milkweed plant here in the Northeast and across America.

Believe it or not, it is the only plant the protected monarch butterfly relies upon for its entire life cycle.

I quite literally knew nothing about this process until Joy Geiser, retired teacher, came to the Garden Club of New Milford’s meeting last July and showed us.

I was so inspired, that a few days later I discovered milkweed in my own neighborhood in Gaylordsville and “saved” six caterpillars days before that area was mowed down.

It is not common knowledge what the milkweed plant looks like and where it grows.

It is very common along roadsides, doesn’t look like much more than a tall weed with oblong leaves. July/August are when the milkweed in the New Milford area is thriving with life.

The caterpillars are already hatching.

The larva only eat milkweed leaves as they grow, and often make chrysalis is right on those plants. Therefore, the milkweed is the only plant that sustains the monarch lifecycle.

So next time you see this quite unremarkable looking plant, give it a second thought before cutting it down.

Since monarchs migrate nearly 3,000 miles to Mexico to winter over, they are the king of butterflies.

Truly a remarkable insect, worthy of our protection.

Andrea Price-Johnson

Member of the Garden Club of New Milford