I-35 Butterfly Roads
Updated: Mar 22, 2019
I bet you haven’t heard of the I-35 super highway (or at least in my books it is really super)? In 2016 the Federal Highway Administration announced an initiative for the “Super Highway”, which is a stretch of highway 1500 miles long from Northern Minnesota to Southern Texas. This initiative was to turn land into a food source not only for Monarch, but for other butterflies and bees. I think this is absolutely awesome as the populations were declining and becoming endangered.
I have participated in the Monarch Watch for many years, even catching and applying small stickers to help track the monarchs. I added a Monarch Waystation at Cornerstone and begin to pay special attention to plantings that were necessary for the monarchs. Monarchs have to have milkweed to lay their eggs on. Fortunately the milk weeds can be pretty and add visual appeal to your flower garden. Joe Pye weed is one that I try to plant every year and now many of mine reseed themselves.
One way you can help butterflies and bees of all kinds is to include plenty of nectar species in your plantings. Anything in the sunflower family such as calendulas, coreopsis, coneflowers, zinnias, asters, black eyed susan are a helpful addition.
Butterflies also need a source of water as well as shrubs to rest in at night. You might also consider a “puddler”. This is a shallow dish ( anything you prefer to use) filled with a little sand and water. The sand provides much needed minerals and it makes a great place for the butterflies to rest while they are drinking. I will be adding more post on a butterfly feeder and how to make one so be on the watch for future post. This is a great project to do with your grandkids.