San Lorenzo Earth Team

Monarch Butterfly Habitat Creation at Oyster Bay!

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On a surprisingly gorgeous December morning, the San Lorenzo Earth Team interns were back at Oyster Bay to continue their restoration work. Last time, the team focused primarily on invasive species removal. This time they did the complete opposite – they planted native plant species!

The day was led once again by Pamela Beitz of East Bay Regional Parks (thanks Pam!). She showed the team all the steps necessary to plant our plants of the day. First, the planting sites needed to be cleared of duff and other ground cover using a McCloud. Next, small deep holes were dug using shovels and digging bars. After the hole was dug the right size, the plant was loosened from its container, removed, and had its roots “tickled”. Tickling the roots ensures that the roots will grow down and out instead of in a circle like a container would cause. After putting the plant in the hole and refilling with dirt, a layer of mulch was added around the plants in a ring. The new plantings were topped off with some water and ready to grow!

At this point, you may be asking, “What plants make good Monarch habitat?” If you know anything about these butterflies, your first guess at an answer might be Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Milkweed is an important plant for Monarch butterflies because they lay their eggs on these plants. However, the Monarchs don’t (and shouldn’t) lay their eggs at Oyster Bay. This location is just an over-wintering spot for the butterflies during their migration and instead need flowering plants to feed on. By planting native flowering plants instead of milkweed, we can ensure the butterflies get enough food and move on to the right spot to lay their eggs. Our Earth Team interns are happy to help these beautiful creatures persist in our community and will return to Oyster Bay soon! Until next time –

LEADERSHIP – STEWARDSHIP – SERVICE

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