Monarch Waystation Blossoms Along Lakewalk for Monarch Butterflies

It's a collaboration between Duluth Parks and Recreation, Duluth Monarch Buddies and Shoreview Natives.

DULUTH, Minn. – The average monarch butterfly travels 3,000 miles during migration every year and soon you might see a few more of them traveling through Duluth, thanks to a new Monarch Waystation along the Lakewalk.

This project is a collaboration between Duluth Parks and Recreation, Duluth Monarch Buddies and Shoreview Natives.

So the next time you’re on the Lakewalk you’ll begin to see plants blossom for butterflies.

Making Duluth more appealing for butterflies is easy as digging through dirt and there’s nothing wrong with getting your hands a little dirty.

That’s what a group of volunteers did at the new Monarch Waystation near 26th Avenue East along the Lakewalk.

“We’re planting milk type plants for these butterflies that are going to be coming around,” said Volunteer Nicholas Cox.

The milkweed plants at this habitat will help increase the butterfly population around the area.

Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed.

“There’s a lot of diversity of plants in here. It’s going to bring in a lot of diversity of birds, butterflies and bees,” said Shoreview Natives Dan Schutte. “It’s just going to be…it’s amazing how their space changes from a grassy lawn into an almost miniature forest of activity and it’s all good stuff.”

In about five years the waystation will be full of 2,500 plants and 45 different species.

“Perenial, wildflowers, grasses and sedges,” said Schutte.

Volunteers like Cox made the trip all the way from Hutchinson to Duluth.

He’s with YouthWorks, an organization that works on mission projects.

Cox spent time at Duluth’s Rose Garden the day before and it prepared him for the planting.

“It just kind of felt like this with the birds singing and it all just feels really nice,” said Cox.

Pesticides contribute to a decline in pollinators like monarch butterflies.

The white fabric you see here is a biodegradable mulching mat.

In the next few years it’ll biodegrade while the plants grow underneath.

“Just putting more native flowers and resources on the landscape can really help provide the habitat those pollinators need to have healthy reproduction and have their population sustained,” said Schutte.

Cox has a simple message to the butterflies that will eventually make the journey and end up here.

“You would have a great home to love and you’ll have a lot of visitors,” said Cox.

Researchers believe as many as 50 million monarchs, including ones from Minnesota, migrate for the winter to a spot west of Mexico City.

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