Every year millions of Monarch butterflies migrate up to 4,830 miles from southern Canada and the USA to winter in groves in Mexico. The Monarchs that migrate in the fall are not the same ones that migrate back north five months later. The northern-migrating butterflies are at least five generations removed from overwintering sites! One researcher calls it “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world.”
Now the Tidal Delaware Water Trail is part of the great migration of Monarchs each year. Ecological restoration has been so successful at Lardners Point Park that Monarch butterflies are once again stopping to take a break on the native milkweed that grows there. It’s an amazing accomplishment to be able to host the butterflies in a place that used to be polluted and inhospitable to them.
The success of the Tidal Trail to attract the butterflies is especially important now as millions of acres of butterfly habitat are being destroyed every year. Conservationists at Monarch Watch state that, “we have a lot of [Monarch butterfly] habitat in this country but we are losing it at a rapid pace. Development is consuming 6,000 acres a day, a loss of 2.2 million acres per year. Further, the overuse of herbicides along roadsides and elsewhere is turning diverse areas that support monarchs, pollinators, and other wildlife into grass-filled landscapes that support few species. The adoption of genetically modified soybeans and corn have further reduced monarch habitat. If these trends continue, monarchs are certain to decline, threatening the very existence of their magnificent migration.”
The conservation efforts on the Tidal Delaware Water Trail are helping combat a nation-wide problem of habitat destruction. We’re very proud of Lardner’s Point Park for its place in the migration!