Restoring The Butterfly Meadow at the Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve in Wingdale

A few cooler days and a break in the weather opened up the opportunity for some volunteers to help advance Oblong's Butterfly Project - the restoration of the Butterfly Meadow at their Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve in Wingdale.  Located just off County Route 21 the 100 acre Preserve is home to over 47 species of butterfly and the Butterfly Project is an on-going initiative to restore and enhance suitable habitat.

Earlier this year the Butterfly Meadow was cleared of invasive Autumn Olive and Sunday's outing was to plant two species of Milkweed in an effort to attract Monarch butterflies.  A total of nearly 150 Asclepias Incarnata and A. Syriaca (Swamp and Common Milkweed) were planted in the Meadow and elsewhere in the Preserve.  The Milkweed is the sole host plant for the Monarch's larval stage and the dramatic decline in the Monarch's population is due to a number of factors including decimation of habitat and eradication of the Milkweed along the path of the Monarch's eastern migratory pattern.  This butterfly overwinters in Mexico and covers thousands of miles in this annual movement.  A remarkable aspect of this migration is that it takes up to three generations of butterflies to make the trip to the north-eastern US, with each generation living for 2 to 6 weeks.  On the return trip the fourth generation has a life of up to 9 months allowing the trip south to be accomplished in one generation - another of Mother Nature's miracles.

The planting provided the opportunity for some students of the Pawling Central School District to work with the Oblong Land Conservancy in their efforts to engage with the PCSD on environmental science issues.  Our thanks to the team of planters Peggy Maasz and son Ryan, and to Preeti Govindarajan and daughter Ananya who made themselves available at short notice.

The plants were made available through a grant from the Natural Resources Defense Council administered by Monarch Watch.