Monterey Rotary clubs, others, to plant seeds for monarchs in Laguna Seca – Monterey Herald

MONTEREY – Some 250 members from 22 Rotary clubs in Monterey County will descend on Laguna Seca on Saturday afternoon to plant 2.5 acres of plants to help migrating monarch butterflies, which despite more positive results this year have seen their numbers decline over the past decade.

The work of planting nectar plants and milkweed plants – essential for monarch caterpillars – in the Laguna Seca recreation area is a collaboration between Rotarians, youth groups such as 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, CSU Monterey Bay Rotaract, CSU Monterey Bay Environmental Club and other community organizations.

Kim Lawson, president of the Steinbeck Rotary Club in Salinas, and Kevin Kenoyer, past president of the Carmel Valley Rotary Club, helped lead the project with support from the regional Rotary district and Rotary clubs across the county.

Many Rotarians involved are on boards of directors of nonprofit organizations, which they in turn contact to get involved, Lawson said.

Among the half-dozen points of interest to Rotarians is environmental support, which was added to the list just last year. Laguna Seca was a natural place to create the gardens for the Monarch butterfly habitat as it has a lot of open land and is on the monarch migratory route that begins in Mendocino County all the way to Baja, Mexico, usually from November to early March.

“We are pleased to provide several acres of butterfly habitat in our park and to help the 22 Rotary clubs in Monterey County who have organized this great cause,” said John Narigi, President and CEO of Laguna Seca Recreation Area , in an email. “These beautiful butterflies are an important part of the ecosystem, and we hope they will return to the Monterey Peninsula this year and every year. These refueling stations will play a crucial role in their return to our region, for the enjoyment of our community.

At the end of October, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History made its first official count of the number of monarch butterflies at the Monarch Sanctuary, and the results were encouraging. Natalie Johnston, the museum’s volunteer community science coordinator, reported approximately 1,300 monarchs to the sanctuary. According to the museum, that number now stands at 12,225 monarchs on Thursday.

That compares to zero butterflies counted in 2020. Reasons scientists attribute to the sharp decline since the 1980s include habitat loss, pesticides and genetically modified organisms, according to Monarch Watch, a nonprofit organization. of education and research based at the University of Kansas (https: //monarchwatch.org).

“While this is a learning opportunity, it is also a way to bring the community together,” she said.

The response from the volunteers has been overwhelming, Lawson said. So much so that the event is maxed out on the number of volunteers it can use. But other events are on the horizon. Plans are underway to plant monarch vegetation at San Lorenzo Park in King City in the spring. And Lawson is hoping Kings and San Luis Obispo counties will join the effort.

“This is how Rotary works,” Lawson said. “We find out where there is a need or a gap and work together to fill it. “

Butterflies land on branches at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, Calif. On Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. Numbers of western monarch butterflies wintering along California’s central coast rebound after population reaches a historic low last year. (AP Photo / Nic Coury)

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