Sat 5 Apr 2014
Keeping the Magic Alive Monarch awareness events have begun with a seasonal series of informative and hopeful “The Magic of Monarchs” presentations led by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy president, Nicole Hamilton.
Last year, after the shocking loss of Monarch population numbers announcement, Loudoun Wildlife launched its Bringing Back the Monarch campaign. Efforts to save the Monarch include many long-term projects like public and private habitat restoration (planting Monarch Waystations), native plant sales, milkweed monitoring, raising & releasing Monarchs, and an important education component.
Hamilton’s presentations educate both the informed and the newcomer regarding today’s latest on the plight of the Monarch. She weaves critical information into cultural connections and the human experience. Her slideshow, data, photography, and genuine ethusiasm engage her audiences, and she sends them away with what she hopes is a new purpose and an understanding of the significance just one person can have on the future of this important species.
Loudoun Wildlife is proud of the county’s fellow conservationists and residents; last year’s campaign resulted in the release of 2,502 Monarchs here in Loudoun County! Fourteen of those successful releases were accomplished by an inspiring–and YOUNG–local citizen-scientist, Carter Steadman.
Today, Carter, age 9, joined Nicole Hamilton at the first ”The Magic of Monarchs” event of the season. He began by reminding the audience that, “…you’re never too young to make a difference.”
Carter is a 3rd grader in Loudoun County at Hutchison Farm Elementary School, and he is worried that the Monarch might be gone before he even graduates high school.
Last year, while learning the enchanting science of life cycles in second grade, his teacher taught the class about the loss of the Monarch. Carter has said that this teacher “changed his life.” Why? Because armed with the knowledge of a problem, Carter believes a SOLUTION is achievable. Saving the Monarch has become Carter’s passion, and he has found an ally in Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.
After spending last summer learning about raising caterpillars to adulthood and rearing multiple species of butterfly and moth (from found caterpillars), Carter decided he could help even more if he planted a Waystation of his own. For his birthday last September, asking his friends to skip the typical material gift and offer donations toward garden costs instead, Carter was able to build and register an official Monarch Waystation in his yard! He named his garden Lepidoptera Lane because he hopes it will be a long-term habitat for butterflies, and a nectaring-point for migrating Monarchs.
Since then, Carter has realized how important it is to teach people about the Monarch–and that education is perhaps the most powerful solution.
“If I plant a garden, that’s something…but if others know how to do it, too–then all of a sudden there’s SO many more gardens and so much MORE habitat for the Monarch.”
So, Carter wants to get kids and their families involved, and he’s working hard to get the word out about the Monarch. Recently, and with the support of a teacher and the leadership at his school, Carter is planning to install a Monarch Waystation & Learning Garden so that his classmates–and the school’s future students–can learn about life cycles, habitats, and conservation…hands-on. WOW! He has already begun fundraising for the project which is slated to break ground in May, pending official approval.
But Carter’s not just interested in the grounds of his neighborhood…he wants to plant seeds in people, too–seeds of knowledge! He has been building a website geared at educating his fellow young citizen advocates, and he’s panning to meet you, along with Nicole Hamilton, at more of Loudoun Wildlife’s Monarch events. Like Carter said today:
“ The greatest thing you can do is tell someone, share about the Monarch with other people–that is how to fix the problem.”
Share his site, butterflybuddy.com, with the young people in your lives, and come on out to one of the upcoming Loudoun Wildlife ”The Magic of Monarchs” events (schedule below).
The Magic of Monarchs events are free to the public, ages 6+ (no registration required).
Questions: Contact Nicole Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Saturday, April 19, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., Middleburg Library
- Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., Gum Spring Library
- Wednesday, June 11, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., Willowsford
- Sunday, June 22, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Waterford
Photo Credit: Sarah Steadman