Lisa Keys was the guest speaker for the March meeting of Woman’s Club and presented a fascinating and informative program on “The Plight of the Monarch Butterfly,” an insect which is close to becoming extinct.
The speaker said that three countries – Mexico, Canada and the United States – are involved in researching and protecting these butterflies.
Butterflies lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves of milkweed plants. Those plants are now scarce, due to spraying and mowing of ditches and roadsides and illicit logging which destroys the insects’ wintering grounds. The U.S. Division of Fish and Wildlife has been awarded a $3.5 million grant to study the causes and possible corrections of the problem.
Monarchs complete a four-part life cycle: egg, caterpillar, pupa and adult. The eggs soon hatch into tiny caterpillars, who eat the milkweed foliage and shortly form a beautiful chrysalis, which in just a few weeks becomes an adult butterfly.
Keys raises monarchs in captivity and “tags” each of them before release. Tagging results show that it takes three or four generations of Monarchs to travel from Mexico to northern Canada. The ones hatched in Canada are called Super Butterflies.
Keys concluded by dispensing packets of milkweed seeds with instructions to keep them moist between paper towels, enclosed in plastic bags in the refrigerator, and to plant them in full sun after all danger of frost has passed. “Keep them moist as they grow,” she cautioned, “if you want to be rewarded with many of these beautiful butterflies.”
Following the program, which was held at the Hillsboro Masonic Temple, a delicious luncheon was served by caterer Avery Elliott.
Club president Marry Todd Hardeman made several announcements including that next year’s officers will be: Helen Ford as president, Pauline Cameron as vice president, Gretchen Huffman as secretary, and Betty Ann Walker as treasurer.
Cameron then presented a touching tribute to recently deceased member, Gale Dukes, and cited her for her many contributions to Hillsboro and Southern State Community College where her husband, Lawrence Dukes, served as president for several years.
Submitted by Gretchen Huffman.