Whorled Milkweed and Monarch Caterpillars on Long Acres Preserve
On a sunny day in August, members of the Berlin Land Trust planted 22 whorled milkweed plants on our Long Acres Preserve.
We purchased the plants at a native plant nursery. Once we got the plants home, we noticed two tiny monarch caterpillars clinging to the leaves of 2 different plants. We guessed by their sizes that they were just a few days old. We checked on the little creatures frequently until planting day.
After planting, we looked for caterpillars each time we went to water the milkweeds. We saw none. We noted that someone was eating the leaves, so we were optimistic. Eventually, our volunteers saw the caterpillars again. They were large and healthy. We don’t know what happened next, but we hope that they became the first of many monarch butterflies to begin their lives on our Long Acres Preserve.
Our planting day was an early effort of The Berlin Land Trust Milkweed Project. The Berlin Land Trust is working to increase the number of monarch butterflies and other beneficial insects by increasing the number of milkweed plants available for them to feed on.