A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to have four awesome visitors help plant some milkweed in the Ken Spencer Science Park!
Milkweed takes a long time to grow. After 10 weeks, our first batch was finally tall enough to move from our outdoor park into the Search: Sara Stern Gallery. It was put in with our Monarch Butterflies in the hopes that they might lay eggs on it. Monarchs only lay eggs on milkweed because their larvae (caterpillars) won't eat any other plant. The milkweed also contains a poisonous substance that helps Monarch caterpillars deter predators.
Monarchs are beautiful insects. Our previous OMNIMAX® film, Flight of the Butterflies, describes the awe-inspiring journey they make across North America. As they travel this incredible distance, Monarchs play an important role as pollinators. Unfortunately, like bees, they are on the decline due to the removal of milkweed from fields that are on the Monarch's migratory path, and because of extreme weather fluctuations.
Showy Milkweed, the kind we're currently growing, is native to BC but is often cleared off land because it can make livestock that eat it sick. As a result, Western Monarch butterflies are becoming a rare sight in our area. You can help protect the Monarch population by planting milkweed in your own garden at home!