The 2022 Milkweed Project was a great success!
In total, more than 1,500+ individual seedlings were distributed across Utah with the help of Salt Lake Public Lands, and Rachel Taylor’s non-profit, Utah’s Friends of Monarchs. Rachel Taylor provided the seeds and multiple educational workshops about the significance of milkweed to the Monarch lifecycle, and survival along their migration route.
The students welcomed Parker Bautner kick off the planting with a Masterclass in gardening, and at the end of the lesson, students each were able to release a painted lady and/or cabbage white butterfly Parker raised and brought to the lesson. The students and staff were enthralled with the butterfly release, the butterflies were warming themselves on a students’ shirt, hand or even face for several minutes before they flew away.
Students germinated and tended to four varieties of Milkweed this year (Swamp, Showy, Orange Butterflyweed and Narrowleaf), in their residential greenhouse. In addition to the Showy Milkweed in the courtyard the students planted several years before, they planted three other varieties of milkweed along with lavender, black-eyed susans and other pollinator plants to attract Monarch butterflies to rest and lay eggs along their long and trying migration route through Utah.
The success of the Milkweed was impossible without the dedication and support from the YIC staff who ensured students were able to tend to the plants each week. Specifically, the hundreds of the Swamp milkweed seedlings at the Youth center were essential for the distribution numbers because outside the Youth Center’s greenhouse, the germination and output of the swamp variety was low this year.
With the milkweed now being established around Utah, keep your eye out for migrating Western Monarchs this summer, the students will be joining you in looking out for these incredible migrants.