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Positive News
April 25, 2016

Excuse me, while I put the paint away and clean up the rollers and brushes.

Now to climb over some furniture and negotiate the path, while the floor guys get busy replacing most of the flooring throughout the castle.

Yep, a bit of work being done around here.

What a mess.

So how is your week starting out?

Yolanda had an outstanding first week back at Hope Network, as some things get back to being routine.

She continues to grow stronger and is eating much better now.

Seedlings (flowers and veggies) are growing quite well.

Grow-lights make a huge difference.

Dark-eyed juncos made their move north around the middle of last week, not to be seen around here till late next fall.

Tree buds are beginning to pop, and my first lawn mowing was this past week.

Birds are singing and more species continue to arrive almost everyday it seems.

We saw our first Baltimore oriole of the season, and the Tree swallows are everywhere now.

There is nothing like spring (my opinion).

We know when it comes to painting a room, or the smallest home improvement, things seem worse before they get better.

With mass confusion around here, there will be a few stubbed toes and some grumbling.

Yes, even a few negative things will be said (I'm sure you have been there before).

I need a pick me up.

Something positive to think about.

Then I got to thinking...........

Wouldn't it by nice to share some good news for a change?

We are filled with bad news, how about something positive?

Well, I found a little something to share with you.

Monarch numbers increase.


Three-and-a-half times as many monarchs as the year before returned to their home in the central Mexico mountains this winter.

That is a good 10 acres of tree branches weighted down, with an estimated 140 million monarch butterflies.

That’s what the remarkable comeback of the Monarch Butterfly looked like this past winter following the annual migration south.

The black and orange insects migrate as many as 3,400 miles south to their sub-tropical climate.

Their numbers had been falling in recent years, until a resurgence in 2014. This year’s increase has been even greater.

It’s impossible to actually count all the individual butterflies, but because they huddle so closely together, scientists and conservationists add up all the land area the monarchs cover.

This winter it came to 10 acres of butterflies.

Up from a record low of 1.66 acres just two years ago.

It’s a strong recovery, yet still has a long way to go to match the record 44 acres of butterflies from 1996.

The United States of America, Mexico, and Canada have all committed to helping the monarchs recover.

The U.S. is reintroducing milkweed plants along 1,100 square-miles of the monarchs’ migration route to make up for herbicide use destroying huge tracts of the plant.

Milkweed is the exclusive host plant for monarchs to lay eggs on, and find it a vital food source.

Mexico is finally cracking down on illegal logging in the monarch reserve (with success), where the butterflies rely on the forest canopy to help shelter them during winter.

Not just to crack down on illegal logging, but Mexico is also realizing the importance of tourism the Monarch butterflies mean to the region.

Scientists hope the upward trend continues with a goal of seeing 220 million by 2020.

It is time for celebration because we see the beginning of success?

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes it is our task now is to continue building on that success.

I recall two and three years ago when monarchs were indeed scarce spotting only one or two in my gardens and only a handful along the migration trail of Lake Michigan.

Last year did bring a few more visitors to my garden.

September migration along Lake Michigan offered a light but steady flow of butterflies for several days.

A noticeable increase in butterfly royalty.

I look forward to more butterflies (of many species) this year.

Public opinion has been galvanized by the news of the potential disappearance of monarchs across North America, and support for saving the monarch has never been higher.

Last year finally showed a great interest in the national conservation efforts to save the monarch.

This much-loved butterfly is a wildlife species in grave trouble.

The Eastern population, which makes up the bulk of monarchs in the U.S., is most at risk.

This population was estimated at over a billion individuals as recently as 20 years ago.

Those numbers plummeted almost 95 percent since then.

The causes of this population crash are many.

Loss of critical food plants (milkweeds), loss of habitat along the monarch’s migration routes.

Negative impacts to over-wintering areas in Mexico, extreme weather events during migration.

Still, the yet to be fully known impacts from certain types of insecticides and herbicides.

But there is new hope for monarchs.

Those numbers plummeted almost 95 percent since then.

The causes of this population crash are many.

Loss of critical food plants (milkweeds), loss of habitat along the monarch’s migration routes.

Negative impacts to over-wintering areas in Mexico, extreme weather events during migration.

Still, the yet to be fully known impacts from certain types of insecticides and herbicides.

But there is new hope for monarchs.

National conservation organizations, corporations and the federal government have initiated new initiatives to reverse this decline.

Monarch Watch, the national education organization which coordinates a variety of monarch conservation activities, is making up to 100,000 regionally appropriate monarch plant plugs available free of charge to public and private landowners for monarch habitat restoration.

This program is intended for restoration projects only (not for gardens or resale).

Some of these resources are becoming available, and your park and recreation agency might want to look for opportunities to utilize these resources to expand efforts in conservation, education and research.

You may have to nudge an official or two.

Parks and Recreation Agencies have a unique ability and opportunity to educate the public and engage kids and volunteers in this conservation effort.

Free Milkweed Plants for Habitat Restoration

Restoration, not for home gardens.

Monarch Watch’s free milkweeds for restoration projects on their website.

(Picture Courtesy of NWF.)

Ideal for home gardens I think are 'Asclepias tuberosa' (Butterfly weed or Butterfly flower in more recent years), and A. incarnata (swamp milkweed).

Both plants are considered fibrous roots and stay in confined clumps, while your basic milkweeds spread by
underground root runners. and become invasive in the home garden.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

“A day dawns, quite like other days;

in it, a single hour comes, quite like other hours;

but in that day and in that hour the chance of a lifetime faces us.”

Maltbie Babcock (1858 - 1901)

There are moments in life when it’s time to sit still.

Moments when God calls us to stand where we are.

Not because it’s the ‘safe' place, but because there is a lesson to be learned in the quiet.

There are also times to take action.

Listen to God.

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is."

Ephesians 5:15–17

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued,

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you –
and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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