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Letter: A Habitat for Monarchs in Hanover

To the Editor:

Like many who marvel at the migratory might of the Monarch butterfly, we were distressed to read your Jan. 30 front-page article on the butterfly’s decline. We decided to take action. The Balch Hill Natural Area in Hanover offers prime Monarch habitat, with its summit meadow filled with milkweed and other native nectar-producing wildflowers. We mow the meadow in time to provide succulent plants for the butterflies in late summer. For years, area teachers have introduced their students to the miracle of metamorphosis by bringing a Balch Hill butterfly chrysalis into their classrooms. Prompted by your article, the Hanover Conservancy has applied to certify the Balch Hill meadow as a Monarch Waystation to support butterfly habitat conservation efforts.

In the summer of 2012, our volunteers regularly reported seeing Monarch adults and caterpillars. Last summer, both were down throughout the region, and fewer were seen on Balch Hill, but they were still present. Come visit Balch Hill right now and enjoy the wide views our volunteers are working to restore (with help from our neighbors, Hudson Forestry, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service). Then, come back this summer to watch the Monarchs and wish them well.

For more on Monarchs and how you can improve habitat at your home landscape, visit http://monarchwatch.org/blog/. For more on Balch Hill, visit www.hanoverconservancy.org.

Adair Mulligan

Executive Director, Hanover Conservancy

Hanover