New Monarch Way Station Going Up at Stage Nature Center

Now that nice weather has arrived and the Stage Nature Center is almost in full bloom, and soon, so will the Monarch Butterfly Way Station that is currently being constructed on the grounds of the Stage Nature Center.. Planning began in 2015 for the way station and since then, fundraising efforts and volunteer engagement for the project have been gaining momentum.

The site was prepared by the City of Troy in April and on the weekend of May 21st – Girl Scouts from Troop #75160 worked all weekend to place edging, mulch and pavers on the site.  The site is now ready for plants – planting date will be June 11th.

The way station at Stage Nature Center will be one of only a few that are public and registered in the area.  The way station planning team has been busy getting the planning efforts off the ground and are working with the City of Troy to bring the project to life.

Project lead Nicole Fleming has been busy coordinating the planning efforts which include:

•      March 20th:  The area on the southwest side of the nature center interpretive building was plotted by Girl Scouts Troop #75160 with flags so the City of Troy could prepare the site for planting.

• April: The City of Troy prepped the area so that edging, mulch and pavers could be installed.

• May 21st: Girl Scouts spent the weekend installing edging, mulch and pavers.

• June 11th: Girl Scouts and Team Lead Nicole Fleming will plant flowering perennials, milkweed seeds, transplant milkweed and lay additional woodchips.

• Fundraising is currently underway to cover the cost of materials required for the way station construction.

• Volunteers are needed to help maintain the garden.

A fundraising campaign is now underway to raise the $500 that will be required for the materials necessary for the Monarch Way Station. The materials that are needed are mulch, wood chips, pavers, milkweed plants and flowering perennials.  The Troy Nature Society has set up a go fund me page to help collect funds for the project.  (https://www.gofundme.com/n848e9f7).

Stage Nature Center has partnered with Girl Scouts troop #75160 on this project.  They are working towards their Silver Award which is the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn and the highest a Cadette (middle school) Girl Scout can achieve.

This Award requires the girls to complete a Cadette Journey which means each Girl Scout chooses a topic that she cares about, then does something to make a difference on that subject. Once the journey is completed, girls must complete a 50-hour service project that leaves a lasting impact on the community.

They have chosen Stage Nature Center’s Monarch Way Station garden as the focus of their project. Accompanied by one of their troop leaders Christal Renaud, the Girl Scouts visited the Stage Nature Center on March 20th to begin their work towards their Silver Award by plotting and measuring out the space where the Monarch Way Station will be planted.

Nicole Fleming noted, “I feel so privilege to be working with the Girl Scouts on the way station project at Stage Nature Center.  The girls are eager, hard working, and dedicated to this project.”

The Scout troop team is made up of Emma Sketch (Baker MS), Tanya Endres (Larson MS), Allison Rosinski (Oakland Steiner School) and Isabella Sulak (Larson MS) with guidance from their Troop leaders, Claudia Endres, MIchelle Goodhew and Christal Renaud, and this team will work on the project from start to finish. They have already worked with Monarch Way Station project leader Nicole Fleming on the design and plant selection.  As the project progresses, they will be installing plants, edging, laying mulch, and will follow up with getting the garden plants labeled so the way station will also become a teaching garden.

In addition, two other Girl Scouts from Troop #75160, Gabrielle Mason and Hannah Podsiadlik (both from Larson Middle School) are working on their own Silver Award project that ties into the Monarch way station by building a bench that will be placed in the butterfly garden so visitors will have a place to sit and observe the Monarchs.

Why is this project important?

Monarch waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. One can think of this as a “rest stop” for the Monarch Butterfly’s on their migration journey.

The Magic of Monarch Migration:

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to “overwintering” areas in Mexico and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating natural wonders and we are helping to bring that experience to our own backyard.

Concerns for the Monarch Butterflies:

Milkweeds and nectar sources are declining due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides. Because 90% of all milkweed/monarch habitats occur within the agricultural landscape, farm practices have the potential to strongly influence monarch populations.

Ways you can help:

Volunteer or donate to the project by visiting the Stage Nature Center website at www.stagenaturecenter.org.