A Monarch butterfly caterpillar has been seen in the gardens. This is important after several years of planting native milkweed varieties (Asclepias tuberosa, Asclepias incarnata, and Asclepias syriaca) which are host plants for the caterpillars of these butterflies threatened by by habitat loss and pesticide use. One young gardener at RIGC who is learning about pollinators suggests that we should change the common name of these plants to "Milk Flowers" because they are not weeds!
Bring Back the Monarchs is one of many campaigns in the U.S. that has been working for these butterflies since 2005. iDig2Learn began important habitat restoration in 2015. The Monarch Corridor beds now located on the east side of the Island at Light House park and other native plantings all across Roosevelt Island are doing well. This is making a difference! Last fall we sighted many Monarch butterflies in October stopping for nectar on native and heirloom plantings during their migration south to Mexico.
RIGC rules that prohibit pesticide use are making a difference! Maybe our garden can be counted along with many other habitat restoration spots in NYC since we are participating in these important planting practices for biodiversity. Small changes can make a difference for our fellow creatures.