Fellow resident Lisa Lenzo has a great plan, and she would like your help reaching out to Governor Whitmer. She has posted this letter on her Facebook wall. If you’d like to add your name as a signee on the letter, place your name(s) in the comments below. Thank you!
Photos below: Lisa’s granddaughter Cialyn holding the caterpillar she raised, named Oscar.
Dear Governor Whitmer,
I have a suggestion that would benefit Michigan’s environment–specifically, monarch butterflies but also other pollinators–and it might also save the state some money.
On a recent trip home to Michigan through Indiana on Highway 31, I noticed that the highway median in Indiana was not mowed, and that one of the main plants growing in that median was milkweed–miles and miles of milkweed, which is the main host plant for monarch caterpillars. But as soon as we crossed over the Michigan border, the U.S. 31 median was mowed in its entirety and very close to the ground.
My suggestion is to refrain from mowing the medians of Michigan highways except for once a year, which would prevent the growth of saplings. This mowing should take place at the end of October, since both butterflies and bees count on nectar and pollen throughout Michigan’s growing season and monarchs especially need fuel in the fall for their long migration to Mexico. Because some milkweed grows along the sides of Michigan highways and milkweed naturally spread their seed, the unmowed medians would soon sprout milkweed as well as other native wildflowers. Naturalizing the medians would also benefit honeybees, native wild bees, and other pollinators, which would in turn benefit Michigan’s cultivated crops as well as our natural world.
Creating more habitat for monarchs and other pollinators is in line with Michigan’s approach to conservation, as stated on the DNR’s website page devoted to monarch butterflies: “Grasslands, vitally important to many species, including monarchs and other pollinators, have become increasingly rare. . . (and) . . . making sure pollinators have habitat that supports milkweed and other native, flowering plants is important to preserving these key species.”
Please consider my simple plan to increase grassland and wildflower habitat by naturalizing Michigan’s highway medians. This would benefit us all, and I believe it would be fairly easy to implement. We don’t want our children and grandchildren to ask, Where have all the flowers gone? And we also don’t want them to ask, What happened to all the butterflies?
I have asked my friends, family, and anyone else who agrees with this letter to add their names to it. Thank you for considering my suggestion, as well as for all the work you do for our great state.