Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 17, 2013

Of Monarchs and migration

Garden club dedicates waystation at the Boyd County Public Library

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — Carla was born yesterday, just in time for the dedication of the Monarch waystation at the main branch of the Boyd County Public Library.

The waystation, a patch of property behind the library and near Crabbe Elementary School, is of special interest to Carla, as she is a Monarch butterfly who burst from her chrysalis Wednesday, Jerri Rupert, chairman of the Monarch waystation committee of the Southern Hills Garden Club, which is responsible for the waystation, said.

“It’s definitely a miracle,” Rupert said.

Carla, who once was a caterpillar, entered her cocoon that hung on a milkweed plant, the only plant the larvae eat, before emerging as a colorful butterfly. She was cultivated by the garden club and, during the dedication ceremony, Carla rested, quiet and contained, on flowers in a vase in the library.

Garden club members stressed the importance of a butterfly population and the role of waystations.

“Monarchs are down about 90 percent,” Rupert said, noting hundreds of millions of butterflies migrate from Canada and the United States to the mountains of Mexico until spring, when they return. “As they go north, they can stop here.”

She said milkweed also is less abundant than ever. Widespread use of pesticides and urban and suburban sprawl also are responsible for the decline in the butterfly population.

Other plants that can be seen in the waystation include asters, sedum, coneflower, butterfly bush, black-eyed Susans, three kinds of milkweed, Joe Pye weed, ironweed, stokesia and plumbago. These plants attract a variety of butterflies.

Terri VanHoose, co-president of the garden club with Phyllis Hunter, called the project very important.

“This is the president of the state garden club’s pet project and we picked it up,” VanHoose said. “It’s been an education.”

It’s so important to Joanna Kirby, president of the Garden Club of Kentucky Inc., that she came from Lancaster to attend the dedication.

“This is a beautiful waystation and I’m so proud of you for creating it and pledging to maintain it,” Kirby said.

During the dedication ceremony, library director Debbie Cosper said she is excited the library got involved in the project.

“When I was approached and was told we need to save the Monarchs, we need to create a waystation but we need money, I said, ‘How much money?’” she said. “When I learned how little was required, I was happy the library could contribute $1,000 to buy plants.”

The garden club approached the library about the project and worked with Kim Jenkins of Sweet Bay Landscaping, who prepped the beds and designed the property. The garden club also worked with the city’s parks department, as the property is part of Central Park.

Gretchen Hill’s special education class at Crabbe will take part by tending the garden and, at the same time, will have lessons in the life cycle of the butterfly.

Mayor Chuck Charles and Commissioner Marty Gute attended the dedication.

Charles said he’s looking forward to other projects that bring together various service organizations.

“This is an example of how you respect our community,” Charles said. “I’m going to expect a whole lot more.”

Creating waystations is catching on. In the spring, there were 46 in the state and as of last week, the number was up to 86.

The library’s waystation is certified by MonarchWatch.org.