The Hamden Land Conservation Trust recently teamed up with a local senior living community to create a 250 square foot butterfly garden and Monarch Way Station.
Whitney Center, a non-profit community located at 200 Leeder Hill Dr., is committed to being an active member of the community, according to Mike Rambarose, President and CEO, and supporting local conservation efforts is very important to this effort.
“As a major corporate citizen of the Hamden and Greater New Haven area, we have an obligation to be good stewards of our environment, and this was a small but meaningful way to meet that responsibility,” said Rambarose.
The Hamden Land Conservation Trust provided the plants and labor for the garden installation to thank them for allowing the trust to hold its monthly meetings there.
Jim Sirch, President of the Hamden Land Conservation Trust, said their missionis to save and protect open space in Hamden and to educate residents about the importance of increasing biodiversity in their own backyards.
“Most of the plants at Whitney Center are native species,” said Sirch. “A few arenon-native, non-invasive species.”
Eleven different species of plants were planted, including White Swamp Milkweed, New England Aster, Joe-Pye Weed, Ironweed and Purple Coneflower. Preparation work for the site was donated by GardEntice and Broken Arrow Nursery donated a Sweet Pepperbush.
“All of these plants provide nectar for bees and butterflies, and some are larval food plants for monarch butterflies such as the milkweeds,” said Sirch.
The Hamden Land Conservation Trust will also purchase and install a Monarch Way Station sign from Monarch Watch, an educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas, designating that the garden is a certified way station.
Victoria DePalma, a resident at Whitney Center and Chair of the Garden Committee, worked with Sirch and other garden committee members to make this happen.
“Butterflies are international and with mostly buildings around here, there is not much habitat for them,” said DePalma. “Setting up a butterfly garden at Whitney Center was a great idea, so I helped push it through with the administration.”
DePalma had a butterfly garden at her previous home in Milford and enjoyed watching the many different varieties that visited.
“If we don’t do more of this sort of thing in urban areas, we are going to lose the butterflies completely,” said DePalma.
Whitney Center garden committee volunteers and Hamden Land Conservation Trust members worked together to get the garden planted in one afternoon and just as the last plant was going into the soil, a beautiful female monarch landed on one of the bushes to enjoy some nectar.
“We are grateful to the Hamden Land Conservation Trust for the time they put into establishing this habitat on our campus,” said Rambarose. “The collaboration between the Trust and Whitney Center residents and staff typifies our philosophyof integration between Whitney Center and the Greater New Haven Community.This garden is a special and meaningful addition to our campus.”
For more information about Monarch Way Stations, visit www.monarchwatch.org.
For more information about the Hamden Land Conservation Trust, visit www.hlct.org.
For more information about Whitney Center, visit www.whitneycenter.com.