Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands – You Can Help the Monarch Butterfly

Courtesy Marie Longo

Courtesy Marie Longo

As we speak, the Monarch Butterfly is enduring its perilous and miraculous journey north. Sadly, in the past few years we have had Monarch butterfly numbers drop to a 20- year low. Although there are multiple reasons why this magnificent butterfly is threatened and being considered for the endangered species list, for the most part there are two main reasons why the Monarch is in deep trouble.

First is the lack of Milkweed, the only plant that Monarch caterpillars can consume. No milkweed, no Monarchs. It’s that simple and also that frightening. And the latest study also points to the lack of the available wildflower habitat, especially on their journey southward in late summer.

The good news is that over the last couple of years there have been many positive things happening. Government agencies and local community groups have been getting more milkweed into our environment. At schools, libraries, town halls, local businesses and wherever there is an extra plot of soil, milkweed is being planted and protected.

In the Meadowlands, the NJSEA has partnered with Bergen County Audubon Society to bring thousands of new milkweed plants to Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus and DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. But there is still much more for us to do, especially in our own backyards.

This spring dig under some of that useless lawn, remove some non-natives and put aside some room in your flower beds for some milkweed and native wildflower nectar sources. Many local garden centers now carry multiple species of milkweed which will work in the backyard. Some better garden centers are now even setting aside spaces for native wildflowers like Milkweeds Goldenrod, Joe-pye weed and NY Ironweed to name a few.

Unlike many environmental issues which at times can seem overwhelming, this is an issue we can do something about. We don’t need to write to our Congressman or the Governor and hope that something gets done. Just plant some milkweed and other native wildflowers that provide nectar and you’ve just made our environment a better place.

Together we can turn our local communities into environments that are welcoming to the Monarch butterfly and that will give a fighting chance to a creature that can sure use our help.

If you have any questions on milkweed or other native plants feel free to contact me at

For a list of native plants click here 

Just a reminder:  Mark your calendars for Saturday July 30th for the Seventh Annual Butterfly Day at DeKorte Park where you can learn more about the Monarch and all the butterflies that call the Meadowlands home. The event will take place from 10 am to 3 pm.

One thought on “Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands – You Can Help the Monarch Butterfly

  1. Pingback: Your own backyard is a great place to help butterflies and bees | Green Wei Blog

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