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Local group plans to protect at-risk monarch butterfly patch Submitted: 06/21/2018
Erin Beu
Erin Beu
Reporter/Anchor
ebeu@wjfw.com

Local group plans to protect at-risk monarch butterfly patch
PELICAN - A group of neighbors in the Town of Pelican found a cluster of caterpillars near their homes on Lake Julia Road.

Last year, the plants hosting the more than 20 monarch caterpillars were mowed over.

This year, the group has a plan to protect the at-risk insects from meeting the same fate.

More than 20 monarch caterpillars have moved into some foliage on Lake Julia Road in Pelican.

"I just thought, 'Oh wonderful, I'll have to protect these,'" said butterfly enthusiast Mary Dork.

Last year, Dork was pleased to find a field of milkweed near her house covered in monarch caterpillars.

"You can always tell where the caterpillars are because of the leaves being eaten," said Dork.

The DNR says monarchs have been at risk of being endangered since 2014.

Mary met up with her neighbors Brett and Owen Lafferty to share her love of butterflies.

But one day, the group was shocked to find the butterfly patch gone.

Since the patch is a part of public land, the Town of Pelican mowed over it to keep the grass short.

This year, Dork blocked off the patch with pink tape and a sign asking people to not cut the grass.

With the monarch population declining in recent years, Dork believes even the 20 caterpillars in the patch could make a difference.

"As humans we really need to be responsible for saving endangered or near endangered species because when they go so do we eventually," said Dork.

Newswatch 12 reached out to the Town of Pelican this afternoon and they decided to leave the caterpillar patch alone.

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