Belle Isle Butterflies
The Belle Isle Library recently welcomed some very special new members to its property: beautiful monarch butterflies! The annual migration of North America’s monarch butterfly is an incredible phenomenon. The monarch is the only butterfly to migrate two ways, as birds do. Unlike other butterflies that can sleep through winter as larvae, pupae, or even as adults in some species, monarchs cannot survive the cold. Using environmental cues, the monarchs know when to travel south for the winter.
In 2017, the library partnered with the Oklahoma Master Gardeners to plant a butterfly garden called a “Monarch Waystation.” Monarch Waystations are special gardens for Monarchs to have the necessary resources to breed and eat while on their journey. The garden contains the following plants:
- Milkweeds, tropical, and African Milkweed
- Gregg's Mist (aka Blue Mistflower)
- Bog Sage
- Bee Balm
- Turk's cap
- Black Eyed Susans.
- Crownbeard (aka cowpen daisies)
- Giant Sunflowers
- Midnight Salvia
Milkweed and nectar sources are in decline, so it is important for citizens to step in and provide sustenance for the Monarchs. The Master Gardeners are tagging the butterflies so that scientists can track their movement and tackle all of the questions that remain unanswered about monarch migration. The library is thrilled to be a place of respite for these little creatures, and we hope that you enjoy their company.
Here are some great titles from our collection to learn more about butterflies and the environment:
A butterfly journey : Maria Sibylla Merian, artist and scientist by Boris Friedewald
Maria Sibylla Merian was a German botanist and naturalist who dedicated her life to understanding insects, particularly butterflies. She is regarded as one of the most important contributors to the field of entomology. In this biography, the author recounts the events in Merian’s life that fostered her love of butterflies, accompanied by her beautiful illustrations of a butterfly’s metamorphosis.
Butterfly people: an American encounter with the beauty of the world by William Leach
Historian William Leach examines nineteenth century Americans’ fascination with butterflies and the scientists who dedicated their lives to understanding them. He argues that the love of butterflies occurred as a response to the increasing dominance of technology, and that this affection reveals something much deeper about the human need for encounter and beauty.
Saving the Earth isn’t only for activists! This book is an excellent guide to starting your own garden to attract pollinators. By planting the necessary flowers, your home can become a habitat for these vulnerable insects.
Butterfly gardening with native plants : how to attract and identify butterflies by Christopher Kline
Are you wanting to attract more butterflies to your garden? Botanist Christopher Kline is here to help in this short and clear book listing plants that will draw in butterflies of all varieties.
This beautiful documentary by PBS follows the monarchs’ migration journey.