After listening to an NPR podcast on the decline of monarch butterflies returning to the northeast on their migration route, Amanda, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Weston, was inspired to dedicate her Gold Award project to the cause.
The population decline is in large part due to recent extreme weather events, such as droughts, heat waves, and winter storms, and an increased use of pesticides in farming, which kills milkweed, the primary food source for monarch caterpillars.
To start, Amanda and her volunteers worked with Land’s Sake Farm in Weston to create two milkweed gardens in different parts of town. Amanda researched milkweed varieties, and chose one native to New England that has beautiful flowers. Amanda also created an educational curriculum about monarch butterflies and the importance of milkweed as a food source, which Land’s Sake Farm will use in their programs for elementary school students.
To widen the impact, Amanda connected with Girl Scout troops in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey that will also create and cultivate milkweed gardens in their communities. She sent each troop 150 milkweed seedlings to plant in the spring, information about the growing issues facing the monarch butterfly population, and signs for their gardens to help educate community members.
Amanda’s ambition and passion for environmental conservation is extraordinary!