September 21, 2015

Monarchs on the Wing

Male monarch feeding on Tithonia at East Quarter Farms Community Garden in Concord
 For the first time in several years, monarchs have again been actively feeding and moving south through our area as their late season migration back to Mexico gets underway.  The plight of monarchs and their precipitous decline over the past 10-20 years has been widely discussed by scientists, the media, and conservation organizations.  It's now clear that increasing habitat destruction (particularly old fields where milkweed is most abundant), large-scale use of herbicides (particularly Roundup or glyphosates), the precipitous spread of black swallowwort ,and the rise of more severe weather events during their migratory seasons are having devastating effects on the global population of these magnificent butterflies.

Citizen reports of sightings (at all life stages) provide invaluable data for tracking the health of the monarch population throughout its range.  A wonderfully informative website (and App) are available to make reporting easy and provides seasonal news, natural history information and real time, animated maps to keep everyone informed of the monarchs' annual movements and activities.  Go to Monarch Joint Venture for a wealth of news and information on Monarch conservation efforts across the continent.  To record your sightings and follow the timing and movement of Monarchs annually, go to Journey North/Monarch Butterfly.

Underwing of butterfly above
What can we do to help?  Help disperse and propagate more milkweed in our communities.  Remove and destroy any black swallow-wort (Cynanchum louiseae) invasions on our property and help in community efforts to do the same.  Plant gardens with late season flowers (milkweeds, tithonia, zinnias, blazing star and others) to attract and nourish maturing and migrating butterflies.  Faithfully report monarch observations (at any lifecycle state) through the Journey North website.

September 9, 2015

Autumn Great Meadows Walks 2015

Part of a continuing series of monthly walks led by Cherrie Corey, 
local naturalist, exploring the seasonal wonders and landscapes 
of Great Meadows NWR in Concord, MA

Sunday, September 20, 3-5 pm
Sunday, October 18, 3-5 pm
Saturday, November 21, 2:30-4:30 pm (sunset walk)
Sunday, December 13, 2:30-4:30 (sunset walk)

This fall marks seven years of Great Meadows monthly walks and other special programs, which I have offered since 2008.  During this time, some 600 wonderfully interested and engaged participants have joined me to explore and celebrate the beauty and rich diversity of this historic, riverside landscape and refuge.

Please join me in this eighth season of discovery and learning along the dike trail!  Autumn -- the season of greatest change -- stirs us with exquisite and ephemeral beauty, bountiful harvests, the last resilient flowers and insects of the year.  Colors peak and fade, migrants fill the skies then are gone, muskrat lodges appear, autumn spiders balloon and drape their gossamer, and the sunsets deepen their fiery glow.  Donations will be gratefully accepted.

 Open to all ages.  No pre-registration required. 

Co-sponsored with Friends of the Assabet River NWR

Please note:  Refuge headquarters waives the entrance fee for these walks.  However, I encourage everyone to consider purchasing a $12 annual pass to help support critical visitor service needs at Great Meadows - Concord.

Meet at the information kiosk at Great Meadows NWR in Concord.  Take Rte. 62 to Monsen Rd.  Follow Monsen Rd. and turn left into refuge driveway when road turns sharply right.  Follow refuge road to the parking lot at the end.

For questions or to be added to the emailing list for notice of these and impromptu evening walks, contact Cherrie at or 978-760-1933.