250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Date Idea, Festivals & Fairs, Kid Friendly
The 2021 Monarch Butterfly Release Celebration will take place on Sunday September 5th from 2:00pm to 3:15pm at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge, MA. This is the seventh annual event in which live monarch butterflies are raised and released by the City of Cambridge into the urban wild. You can view the caterpillars' progress in the Fresh Pond Ranger Station until the release.
See the butterflies up close and personal, make some crafts, earn a Jr. Ranger badge, and learn about this fascinating insect from 2:00-2:30 at the Butterfly Headquarters behind the building.
March down to the native meadow of Kingsley Park with us at 2:30 for a 2:35 release of all of the butterflies that were raised by rangers and volunteers.
Hang out afterward, watch them fly, and complete your free Jr. Ranger activity booklet for a badge!
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is an amazing insect and pollinator. Migrating every late summer-early fall, a single individual may travel thousands of miles to overwinter in warmer climes; even a monarch from Canada will travel to the forests of Mexico on its small wings! Unfortunately, this inspiring species is threatened worldwide. In North America, the population is estimated to have dropped by nearly 90% from the 1990s to the present day. While monarch butterflies face numerous threats throughout their life cycle – both natural and human-induced—it is widely acknowledged that habitat loss is the single most devastating blow to the species in North America. Specifically, monarch butterflies depend upon milkweed (Asclepia spp.), which is generally in decline across the country, for their caterpillars to hatch and mature into adults. Additionally, overwintering sites in Mexico are under threat from logging. But we have a chance to make a difference here in the City of Cambridge!
In this project, we will:
– plant milkweed to bolster the plant’s spread on the Reservation
– plant additional butterfly-friendly wildflowers as nectar sources
– weed out invasive black swallow-wort, which pushes out native nectar plants and also (as a relative to milkweed) upon which monarchs mistakenly lay eggs, poisoning caterpillars, and raise 50+ monarch caterpillars and release them
While we hope this will benefit the monarch population, this project will also improve habitat for other pollinators, upon which healthy native plant communities depend. Healthy plant communities improve natural water quality protection, biodiversity and the overall aesthetic of the Reservation.