By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
Numbers of monarch butterflies are in decline because of a loss of habitat. The Cub Scouts of Troop 60 – Wolf Den, are working to create a Monarch Waystation and earn an Outdoor Activities Badge in the process.
On Thursday, the scouts gathered in a remote section of Brighton Park to plant swamp milkweed, a species native to West Virginia and important to the monarch butterfly.
“Monarch butterflies will only lay their eggs on milkweed,” said Scoutmaster Ken Pack. “Without the milkweed, there would be no monarch butterflies.”
The scouts contacted Monarch Watch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to research, education and conservation of the monarch butterflies. Through Monarch Watch, the troop purchased swamp milkweed plants.
Working with Brighton Park Director Anthony Rao, Pack chose a planting site away from the normal park activities. “Mr. Rao has been so helpful to the scouts with all of our projects,” Pack said.
The scouts took turns digging holes and placing the plants in the ground. A number of parents and other family members provided assistance.
Because of development, genetically modified crops and roadside management, the milkweed and other wildflowers have suffered. Wildflowers provide nutrition for butterflies, bees and other insects.
According to Monarch Watch, development in the United States consumes approximately 6,000 acres per day of woodland and pasture, which includes wildflowers.