Enjoying Monarch Butterflies at Chartwell Gardens
As you take a stroll through Chartwell Gardens, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the beautiful monarch butterfly, a species whose scientific name literally means “sleepy transformation.” This fast-declining butterfly species is one of the most easily recognizable butterflies in the United States, known for their striking orange-and-black wings.
What Makes the Monarch Butterfly Special?
The monarch butterfly is special for a few reasons. First, the monarch is the only butterfly that feeds on milkweed. Milkweed is a poisonous plant to most animals, but the monarch has developed a resistance to its poison. Second, the monarch undergoes one of the most fascinating transformations in the animal kingdom. For instance, the monarch butterfly only lives for about two to six weeks, but its larvae (caterpillars) can live up to two months.
Secondly, the monarch butterfly travels farther than any other butterfly in the USA — up to 3,000 miles! Every fall, monarch butterflies from all over the United States and Southern Canada migrate to Central Mexico, where they spend the winter. Then in late February or early March, they begin their return journey north.
Threats to the Monarch Butterfly
Unfortunately, the monarch butterfly is declining at an alarming rate. In the 1990s, there were an estimated billion monarch butterflies. Today, there are less than 45 million.
The main threat to the monarch butterfly is loss of habitat due to deforestation and urbanization in Mexico as well as the use of pesticides in the United States. Therefore, it is important to do our part in conserving this species by planting milkweed and avoiding activities that would harm monarch butterflies, such as using pesticides.
Why Are These Butterflies Important?
Monarch butterflies are important for a few reasons. First, they are an important part of nature. They help pollinate plants and flowers, and they are also a food source for other animals. Second, they are a keystone species, which means that they play a vital role in the ecosystem, and their decline could lead to the decline of other species. Lastly, monarch butterflies are a cultural icon and are loved by many people. Without monarch butterflies, the world would be a little less beautiful.
What Can I Do to Help?
There are a few things you can do to help the monarch butterfly. First, you can support organizations that are working to conserve this species. Second, you can plant milkweed in your garden or buy milkweed plants from a nursery. Milkweed is the only food that monarch caterpillars will eat, and it is also a vital part of the monarch butterfly’s life cycle. Third, you can avoid using pesticides in your garden. Pesticides can kill monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
Monarch Butterfly Watching at Chartwell Gardens
If you’re interested in seeing monarch butterflies up close, then make your way to Chartwell Gardens. And when you do, don’t hesitate to go on a monarch butterfly walk. These walks are led by knowledgeable guides who can teach you about the monarch’s life cycle and their importance in nature. These butterflies don’t bite, and they’re actually quite docile, so don’t be afraid to approach one if you see it during your walk.
What to Bring
There’s no need to bring anything special with you on your monarch butterfly walk, but we recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes and bringing along some water. If you have binoculars, then bring them, too, so that you can get a better look at these beautiful creatures.
Chartwell Gardens is a premier location for many types of outdoor activities. The gardens offer something for everyone whether you’re interested in a place that can host all your group’s events, or you’re planning on spending a quiet day enjoying the outdoors. With its many features and attractions, Chartwell Gardens is perfect for your next event in New Jersey. And if you love watching monarch butterflies or simply want to support our cause, contact Chartwell Gardens today!