The Arboretum seems to be hosting the best monarch butterfly population in years. Building from the first sighting in mid-June and sporadic sightings in July, we have seen multiple monarchs in August, including a pair mating. We suspect that by mid-September there will be a nice number of butterflies emerging from their cocoons. Then they will be off to Cape May and will migrate to Fir Forests in the mountains of Mexico where they will spend the winter.
Monarch populations have been in decline for decades so it is encouraging to see this upswing.
Arboretum Abundance Shared Throughout the Region
At the end of every winter, we collect cuttings and divisions of various plants, then pot and care for them in the Arboretum’s nursery. Now that it’s late summer and they are ready to be planted in the ground, we are donating these plants to local environmental groups and institutions.
Over the past 10 years, we have donated more than 500 plants to institutions such as the The Heinz Wildlife Preserve, The CRC Watershed Association, Glen Providence Park, and Delco Anglers. You may even notice a few of our plants on Widener’s Main Campus this fall.
Nature Makes for One Wild Classroom
Speaking of fall, the fall semester has already started, and we look forward to visits from Widener students. We mainly see undergraduate students from the biology department on the grounds taking classes and conducting research. However, there is also a Walking and Talking Class once a week for extended learning students. Last spring and summer we logged more than 400 student hours at the arboretum. Studying the ways of the natural world is an important part of our mission so we look forward to welcoming even more students this semester.
Let’s see what we can learn!