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JoAnn's Blog

Evidence (A DMC Challenge Poem)

One way to find tiny monarch caterpillars on milkweed leaves is to look for their characteristic C-shaped chewprints.

I wrote this poem as a response to editor Carol Hinz's November 2017 Ditty of the Month Club challenge for Michelle Heidenrich Barnes's blog, Today's Little Ditty. The challenge was to write a poem that finds beauty in something not usually considered beautiful. Visit the padlet to read all the inspiring poems.


              Something is eating the milkweed plants,
              nibbling them naked,
              stripping the garden bare.
              Something is chomping this tattered leaf.
              It left its mark in the shape of a C—
              C for chewing
                       and crawling
                                 and caterpillar
                                           and cheering!
              Hooray! The monarchs are here!

              JoAnn Early Macken

Mary Lee Hahn is hosting Poetry Friday at A Year of Reading. Enjoy!

Whoops, I forgot this at first: For more monarch info and photos, see my Monarch page.

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Save the Monarchs--Before It's Too Late!

In “Monarch Population Status,” Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch describes the monarch butterfly's drastic recent habitat loss: He estimates that 29-33% of the monarch breeding range has been lost since 1996! He says, “due to the economic forces involving crop production and human population growth, these losses will continue. It is clear that if our goal is to save the monarch migration, we must find a way to mitigate the loss of monarch habitat.”

“While waiting for conditions to improve," he says, "let’s plant milkweed – lots and lots of it.” Yes, of course.

Here’s one more thing we can all do right now to help.

In “Last Call For Monarchs,” Mexican poet and environmentalist Homero Aridjis says, “Now, on the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, I (and all who cherish the monarch butterfly) am urging Presidents Enrique Peña Nieto and Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put monarch survival on the agenda of their February 19-20 summit meeting.”

“To make up for the vast loss of grasslands to crops and urban development,” he says, “we need a milkweed corridor stretching along the entire migratory route of the monarch -- with plantings on roadsides, in fields and ditches, along railroad tracks, in pastures and meadows and gardens, in parks and public spaces -- so that successive generations of monarchs can breed during their journey north.”

Many of us are doing what we can to spread milkweed in our small corners of the country. (Let me know if you want seeds!) The Wild for Monarchs Blog suggests contacting President Obama to ask him to make this issue part of the agenda when he meets with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts.

Contact the White House to show President Obama the broad support for saving monarchs. The meeting is only a week away, but it takes only a minute to fill in the required contact fields and include a short message. Feel free to copy and modify this letter.

Dear President Obama,

The population of monarch butterflies has dropped drastically in recent years. Development, increased cropland acreage because of the ethanol mandate, and the use of herbicides and herbicide-tolerant crops have nearly eliminated milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food, from much of the butterfly's former habitat.

I understand you will be meeting with Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper later this month. Please take this opportunity to discuss a plan to protect the monarch butterfly on its migration route through our three countries.

I urge you to take steps now to save monarch butterflies while they still have a chance to recover. Thank you!

JoAnn Early Macken

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