Over the last two decades, the North American monarch population has plunged from 1 billion to less than 60 million, due mostly to loss of its habitat. But Girl Scouts can do their part to change that.
This summer, our Juniors at our day camp learned about the loss of the monarchs as part of our “It’s a Bug’s Life” theme. (It’s also easily tied into the Gardening and Animal Habitats badge as well.)
We took one step towards restoring butterfly habitats by introducing Monarch-friendly wildflowers with seed balls. We had received donations from seed-balls.com of their seed bomb kits for the girls to use.
It’s interesting that seed balls have been in use since Egyptian times, but I had not ever heard about it until the “guerilla gardening” movement came through a few years ago.
This quick – and dirty – project had the girls selecting monarch-friendly wildflower seeds and mixing in a base of clay and compost. The dime-size balls dried for about a day and then the girls could toss the balls (with permission) in their home garden or about at a local park or camp.
Our girls also helped begin to restore the butterfly garden at our camp. The butterfly garden was installed at camp 14 years ago through the Junior League, but unfortunately had become overrun with weeds and was largely unknown at the camp.
Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas donated a flat of millkweed plants (32 plants) to our camp’s butterfly garden. Monarch Watch will donate milkweed to organizations through a grant program that is running through 2016.
We are in the process of registering the garden as a certified Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch as well.
Despite the 90-degree heat, the girls enjoyed getting their hands dirty, digging in the soil and making a small difference in a tiny joy of summer: Finding butterflies.