The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Posts tagged monarchs

  • Good News for Monarchs!

    | August 16, 2017 | Filed under: News

    Monarch Rescue 2017 saves more monarchs than ever

  • Monarch Rescue 2016

    | August 26, 2016

    The Reserve held its sixth annual Monarch Rescue yesterday! Two education staff and seventeen wonderfully enthusiastic volunteers of all ages set out in search of monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars in fields that will be mowed within the next couple of weeks. Select Reserve fields are mowed each year in an effort to maintain this vital habitat, rather than allow it to eventually grow into forest. The mowing also serves to keep invasive plant species in check.

    Monarch caterpillars

    Each year since 2010 (with the exception of 2011, when no rescue was conducted), the Monarch Rescue teams were tasked with combing the fields while inspecting individual milkweed plants to look for signs of monarchs. Any found eggs and caterpillars were then brought to a field not slated for mowing that year. Milkweed leaves with eggs on the underside were stapled to secure milkweed leaf undersides. Caterpillars were moved to secure milkweed plants. The graph below shows the number of eggs and caterpillars found during each of the six rescues.

    Monarch Rescue Data

  • Helping to Make Monarchs More Than a Memory

    Wells Reserve Contributor | October 7, 2015

    Monarch caterpillar on milkweedThree years ago I observed a magical happening while on a drive along Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport. Suddenly I was surrounded by what appeared to be a veritable storm of brightly colored pieces of paper fluttering past me. Upon stopping I saw that these were monarchs gathering in the Rosa rugosa at the water’s edge. There was a strong onshore breeze and they were flying about, hesitant to launch over the open water.

  • Monarch Rescue 2015

    | September 4, 2015

    The Reserve's annual late summer effort to save monarch eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises from the mowers that cut our fields happened last week. The mowing is essential in preventing the fields from growing into forests over time, and also as a management strategy for invasive species.

    Monarch rescued

    Thanks so much to the eleven volunteers who spent several hours in the warm sunshine combing the ubiquitous milkweed plants for signs of monarchs! We saved 38 caterpillars of all sizes, removing them from the fields that will be mowed within the coming weeks to fields that will not be mowed this year. The smallest of the caterpillars measured less than one inch in length, whereas the largest were several inches long. A handful of monarch butterflies were spotted fluttering over the fields during the rescue mission, providing hope that some of the rescued caterpillars will also reach adulthood.

  • Emerald Jewel on Copper Beech

    Wells Reserve Contributor | July 16, 2015

    Monarch butterflyWe listen to the rain patter against the roof of leaves of the wise old copper beech tree as campers and I munch lunch. The vast canopy gives the impression of a complete ceiling of wood and leaves, but campers are able to look closely and discover something remarkably unique.