Eagle Scout candidate Jack Wanner and Hawk's Landscaping planted milkweeds, wildflowers and a hackberry tree in an effort to attract monarch butterflies to the County Grounds in Wauwatosa. The Nov. 5 effort will give an assist to the beloved butterfly whose numbers have plunged over the past two decades.
Hawk’s donated and delivered the 4-inch caliper tree and Wanner led fellow troop members, friends and family in planting the new tree just off Discovery Parkway. Next, they planted 2,000 native milkweed plants and wildflowers provided by the Friends of the Monarch Trail throughout the County Grounds between Interstate 41 and Discovery Parkway.
The focus plots for the plantings are a part of the UWM Monarch Conservancy and land owned by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The two tracts include wildflower meadows and groves of trees that numbers of monarchs visit every autumn as they begin their long migration to central Mexico.
“The migration has been going on for, who knows, eons,” Barb Agnew, founder of the Friends group said. “We know from local lore that they’ve been coming here to the County Grounds every year for at least 50 years to rest and refuel."
Agnew said that in 2016 there were a surprising amount of monarchs spotted on the grounds considering how far the overall numbers of monarchs have been falling in recent years. She said that this year spotters saw more than 200 monarchs roosting on a single tree, with more than 600 total butterflies clustered on several trees.
The hackberry tree, courtesy of Hawk’s, was planted where it may become another of those annual monarch roosts. The wildflowers and milkweed plants will fill in an area that has recently been cleared of invasive foreign plants that do not benefit native American wildlife.